Simon Friend was born into an experienced fishing family, then worked extensively in fishing as a young adult, within Australia and internationally. It was inevitable that this would influence Friend & Burrell’s decision to distribute Olasagasti anchovies.
Olasagasti anchovies are produced by a specialist fishing family enterprise located next to the port of Ondarroa, between Bilbao and San Sebastian on Spain’s Bay of Biscay (Cantabrian Sea) coastline, about an hour’s drive from the French border. The enterprise is a union of two families devoted since the 1920’s to the traditional, artisan ways of producing and preserving the highest quality fish from the Bay of Biscay: the families of Carlos Dentici and Salvatore Orlando.
Since the 1920’s, the Dentici and Orlando families worked to produce the highest quality seafood from the Basque coast, preserved in cans. Today, they’re united by a continuing love of the Bay of Biscay, a confidence in the use of traditional methods to process fish at its freshest (“en fresco”), as well as an appreciation of the specialist fish-handling skills of their fishing men and women (Arrantzales).
They describe the Bay of Biscay as “an open and brave sea, rich in natural resources, where numerous species live together: White tuna, Bluefin tuna, Mackerel and the well known Bay of Biscay anchovy.” Their annual anchovy fishing occurs between April and June, utilising traditional encircling nets to capture the fish close to the surface so that the deep sea life is not disturbed. The fresh catch is then transported overnight to their processing site where highly skilled handlers process the fresh fish (“en fresco”) by hand, to be canned after maturing by press for 5 to 6 months. The characteristic aroma and superb quality of the best anchovies follows this meticulous process.
Anchovies are distinct flavour-bombs – with fatty, salty, even meaty savoury flavour: delicious on pizza, indispensable in a tapenade, beautiful in a classic Spanish pintxos, a Caesar salad, a french style cheese tart, a salad Niçois, a sandwich or breakfast eggs – and to add umami depth into distinctive sauces, rubs, dressings, and dips.
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