Anchovy Oregano- Gavros Riganatos

Anchovy oregano is an easy way to cook gavros at home – you are essentially steaming it. Gavros is a very popular small fish that is available from spring till the autumn in the Mediterranean. Greeks love gavros and eat it in many ways: marinated as amuse bouche or welcome taster in restaurants, fried or baked as a main course or steamed as a meze, side or part of a larger meal.

The fish in this dish must be very fresh, otherwise you might as well not bother cooking it at all. You can probably replace it with some other small fish like smelt – give it a try and let us know how it went!

Anchovy/gavros does not need to be scaled but does need to be gutted. As it’s relatively small, many adults even eat the fish bones. But if small children will be eating it or you prefer your fish free of bones completely, get you fishmonger to fillet it or take out the bones yourself when gutting the anchovy.

We normally get our fishmonger to do the gutting for us. But if you do not have access to a fishmonger or they do not offer the service, please check out the photos below. The cooking times have been calculated without taking into account time for gutting the fish. If you need to do this, add another 15-20 minutes.

If you want to give your steamed anchovy oregano some bite, top it off with some crushed red hot chilli skins.

This is an easy, quick and protein-rich dish that goes very well with some white wine on a spring evening.

Anchovy Oregano- Gavros Riganatos

5 from 1 vote
Course: DIPS, MEZE & SNACSCuisine: Greek, MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy


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Delicious steamed anchovy recipe, ideal as a meze or side dish


  • 1 kilo fresh anchovy, gutted, with the heads chopped off

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

  • 3 lemons, juiced

  • salt, pepper

  • Optional Ingredients to Top your Dish off
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley, coriander or other leaves of your choice

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • skin flakes from a red chilli pepper


  • If your fishmonger hasn’t done it for you, cut off the heads of your anchovy and gut them by slipping your thump in the fish and pushing out the intestines as shown below. Pull out the fish bone while you are at it if you want.
  • Rinse your gutted anchovies in a colander, under your tap, add some salt (half a teaspoon will do) and leave aside
  • Heat your olive oil in a cooking pan
  • Add the chopped garlic and stir a couple of times till it starts to brown
  • Add a cup of fresh water, the lemon juice, the oregano and let it reach boiling point
  • Add the anchovies slowly, side by side so they are all covered in water and add some pepper
  • Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated and they are left with their olive oil sauce
  • Serve warm with your chosen topic

If you want, you can also add a dash of white wine to your anchovy when it’s almost ready and leave it for a couple of minutes to evaporate.

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