1-2cupsvegetable oilfor frying (canola, soybean oil, corn oil, or sunflower seed oil work great!)
Lemon wedgesfor serving
For the homemade tartar sauce:
1teaspoonsweet pickle relish
Optional: pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and/or ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
Rinse the anchovies in water. Clean the anchovies by cutting off the head, then use your fingers to scoop out the innards, guts, and spine from the anchovies. The spine might need to be pinched and pulled out.
Combine the flour with the salt and pepper (and other seasonings, if using—see notes), on a large plate or bowl and mix well.
Add the cleaned anchovies to the seasoned flour and toss/stir to coat the anchovies in the flour completely.
Add the vegetable oil to a small saucepan (the oil should be at least a few inches deep). Heat the oil and do the toothpick test: insert the tip of a tooth pick into the oil carefully. If small bubbles form almost immediately, the oil is hot enough for frying.
Use a slotted metal spoon or a metal spatula to carefully place a few flour-dredged anchovies into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry for about 1 minute, or until the anchovies are golden brown. Use metal tongs or a metal slotted spoon to carefully remove the anchovies from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
Add enough oil to a pan to coat it about ½-inch deep. Heat the oil and do the toothpick test: insert the tip of a tooth pick into the oil carefully. If small bubbles form almost immediately, the oil is hot enough for frying. Add the flour-dredged anchovies to the pan and fry for about 30 seconds - 1 minute per side, or until golden brown. Remove and place on a plate lined with a clean paper towel.
Serve with tartar sauce:
Serve fried anchovies warm, squeezing fresh lemon juice over the anchovies and dipping into tartar sauce. Make the tartar sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste, and adjust the flavor to your liking.
Optional seasonings: add ½-1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried oregano, paprika and/or smoked paprika to the flour mixture, and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper powder.For a low-carb version of this recipe, use almond flour in place of wheat flour. For a gluten-free version, you can use either almond flour, cassava flour, or your favorite gluten-free flour mix.Fried anchovies are great as an appetizer when served with a cream dip, such as tartar sauce. They're also great on avocado toast, on toast with hummus, over salad, on top of mashed potatoes for a little salty crunch.Nutrition facts will vary based on how much flour and oil are actually used in the making of these anchovies.