Battered anchovies with quick tarty (tartare) sauce

By Jack Monroe •

Another in our great series of recipes for delicious dishes which taste high end but are made at the fraction of the price. Jack shares one of her son’s favourite starters - battered anchovies with a quick tartare (or as he calls it - tarty) sauce. It only costs 52p a serving and tastes wonderful.



When deep-frying food, such as these battered anchovies, I use a small milk pan with 2-3 inches of oil in the bottom of it. The larger pan you use, the more oil you will need. You can cook these in a frying pan with less oil, but they are trickier, with more of a risk of burning yourself.

Instead of throwing it away, I reserve leftover oil and strain it through a wire sieve to get rid of any chunks of batter or burned residue, allow it to cool, bottle it and use it for a month specifically for ‘frying things in’ – or less time if it starts to look seriously murky.

Battered anchovies with quick tartare sauce

Serves 4 as a starter

100g fresh anchovy fillets, £1.63 (£3.25/200g)
100g self raising flour, 4p (65p/1.5kg)
100ml milk, 9p (49p/568ml)
1 tbsp lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml) - or juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tsp paprika, 10p (£1.09/jar)
200ml natural yoghurt, 18p (45p/500ml)

1 heaped tsp fresh parsley - optional

2 inches of oil – dependent on size of pan.



First, pour the oil into a saucepan and put on a medium heat. You want gentle bubbles rising to the surface – any more than that and there is a risk that it will hiss and spit at you – and although this recipe needs the oil to be hot in order to work, it doesn’t need to be doing the Haka in the pan. Besides, nobody likes a faceful of hot oil.


While the oil is heating, make the batter. Tip the flour into a bowl, add the paprika, finely chop the parsley and scatter in, reserving a teaspoon or so for the tarty sauce. If you are using a fresh lemon, grate most of the zest in, and reserve a generous pinch or two with the parsley.

Pour the milk in, and squeeze in the lemon juice, and mix well with a fork to make the batter. Set to one side – some people swear by chilling the batter, so if you feel so inclined and you have space in the freezer, pop it in for a few minutes while you make the tarty sauce.

To make the sauce, simply mix the yoghurt with the reserved lemon zest and parsley, and mix well.

When the oil is hot, take the anchovies one at a time and dunk in the batter. Lift out with a tablespoon to keep as much batter as possible clinging to the little slivers of fish, and lower into the oil. Repeat until the pan is three-quarters full, giving the batter space to expand without it all sticking together.

When the anchovies are floating in the surface, and a crispy golden colour, remove and set on a baking tray covered with a clean, non-fluffy tea towel, or pieces of kitchen roll, to drain the excess oil.

Repeat until all of the anchovies are battered, and serve with a wedge of lemon and the tarty sauce.


For more battered fish recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.  What are your favourite quick fish meals?  Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.


Lavender and Lovage
I LOVE this recipe! Fabulous! Karen
2 August 2013

Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe is a 25 year old mum from Southend on Sea, author of 'much more than a cooking blog', A Girl Called Jack. She found accidental fame by blogging recipes created from handouts at her local food bank, and a £10 a week food shop. Winner of the Judges Choice award at the Fortnum And Mason Food& Drink Awards, her first cookbook A Girl Called Jack 100 Delicious Budget Recipes was published by Penguin in March 2014.


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