After watching and smelling all those anchovies being cooked on Sunday, I have to follow with a post on Hamsi Pilav.
This is my first attempt and I wish I had bought pre-gutted hamsi because de-heading and de-back boning these little blighters takes time. After the first ten or so, I got into a rhythm and could pull the head off and run my thumb down the inside of the backbone separating flesh from gory bits in one action. If I'd read my own blog post about Byron Ayanoğlu teaching me to do this a couple of years ago, I would have saved a few squished fish. I bought a kilo of hamsi and lined an oiled dish with 3/4 of them, skin side down. I then sautéed 1 finely chopped onion in a little oil, added a cup of jasmine rice, a handful of pine nuts, a handful of tiny currents, a pinch of salt and one and a half cups of boiling vegetable stock. This was simmered until all the water had been absorbed, then left to cool slightly.
Add the rice to the hamsi-lined dish
Cover with the remaining fish, skin side up and put into the middle of a 180 C oven for half an hour.
Invert the dish onto a plate and shake out the hamsi pilav. Mine didn't come out as cleanly as I'd have liked which is why you have this side shot, but I was quite pleased with my first go. A bit of loosening the edges with a knife before tipping out might be a good idea.
A kilo of hamsi will not only give you a tasty supper for 4, you will also have super soft hands after massaging them with raw hamsi. I know they are an oily fish, but it was only when handling them I realised how oily.