Following the fish as they swim down from the Black Sea at this time of year is quite exhilarating.
I don’t mean literally but the fish’ progress down the Bosphorus can be closely observed simply by visiting the wonderful open fish markets of Karaköy and Kadıköy.
Since the fishing ban was lifted last month, look out for palamut/bonito and hamsi/anchovy. The first are unmistakable with their distinctive red frills, and the others no less obvious because of their sheer number. There are piles and piles of them on every fish monger’s stall!
I went to Kadıköy a few days ago in quest of palamut. I happened to see on facebook that there was a protest in full flow in that area with attendant TOMA and tear gas. This did indeed make me pause and I wondered if it was worth getting gassed just for the sake of some fish for dinner. However, the FB thread kept me faithfully posted and about half an hour later, it seemed safe to venture out. So I did, albeit cautiously.
I bought from the very first stall I came too,I wasn’t going to hang around although there was clearly nothing to be alarmed about: 3 palamut for 20 TL. Not bad at all. I couldn’t resist a kilo of the very freshest of anchovy either. They were a mere 8TL per kilo or 10TL if they were cleaned. Money well spent, I thought and got the latter.
Hamsi can be cooked in a variety of ways but let’s face it, with small fish, frying is a very tasty option, especially if you use corn flour or mısır unu. We eat very little fried food in this household so once in a while, we really enjoy it! Having said that, I also really enjoy poached anchovies or hamsi buğulama and it is healthier.
(and I do have a much earlier post on dealing with these little fish if you care to look..)
So very simply, buy a kilo of cleaned hamsi. Once home, wash them well again and if liked remove the backbone which is very easily accomplished.
Match up two of the opened fish fillets like this to make one plump fish:
When you are ready to start frying, dip each pair in the seasoned corn flour and place in the hot oil. They will sizzle – you can turn each pair over to ensure that it becomes evenly brown on each side.
Place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
Here’s a little extra to increase your pleasure:
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
- pinch of salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes/pul biber
- ½ bunch flat-leaved parsley, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and place in a bowl. Serve the fried anchovies with fresh rocket and slices of onion with this sauce on the side.