16 stoneless green olives, preferably manzanilla
8-16 anchovies
16 guindilla peppers
1 tablespoon sugar
60ml white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
4-8 strawberries, 1 peach or a small piece of watermelon
100g creamy goat’s milk feta
100g cream cheese
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
4 tablespoons soft herbs such as dill, chives or parsley, finely chopped
4 large chillies or 2 King Sweetie capsicums
1 quantity pickling mix (see recipe for pickled summer fruit)
2 medium Roma tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sherry or wine vinegar

A simply perfect little bite, this bold, salty and spicy Basque pintxo was named after Rita Hayworth’s character in the 1946 film Gilda. The classic version consists of an anchovy, manzanilla olive and a pickled guindilla pepper. Guindillas are a mild chilli pepper grown in Spain – they add the perfect mild, spicy kick and are available from specialty stores and online. If you don’t have them, you can substitute another type of pickled pepper or chilli for a different, but still delicious, gilda. Try my charred and pickled peppers below or the pepperdew peppers available in supermarkets.

Here are some ideas for tasty bites you can add to a gilda to make your own version. I have considered what I would like to add to the strong, salty hit of the gilda, such as acid creaminess from goat cheese, or sharp sweetness from pickled fruit.

Once the fruit or veges are used, the pickling vinegars make great salad dressings.

You can use salt-cured brown anchovies or the more tangy and mild vinegar-pickled white anchovy. If using strongly flavoured anchovies, you can use eight and cut them in half so they don’t overpower the morsel.


Use large chillies for a hot chilli hit or the long thin King Sweetie capsicums for a mild flavour.

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1.For each gilda, spear an olive, an anchovy and a pepper onto a cocktail stick.
2.For something different, add one piece of the extra elements below.
4.Put the sugar and vinegar and salt in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon water and heat, stirring to dissolve. Cool.
5.Cut the fruit into 16 pieces (discarding stems, stones, seeds) and mix into the cooled pickling mix.
6.Put into the fridge and leave for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours, before using.
8.Put the goat’s cheese, cream cheese, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon herbs in a bowl and mix with a fork until smooth.
9.Put the remaining herbs on a plate. Take grape-sized spoons of cheese and roll into a ball.
10.Roll in the herbs to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
12.Char the peppers over an open flame, on the barbecue or under the grill until black all over.
13.Put in a pan or bowl with a well-fitting lid, cover and leave to steam for 10 minutes.
14.Cut each in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and veins and discard.
15.Peel or scrape off the skin and discard (it doesn’t have to be too perfect).
16.Slice the peppers in half again (and again for the King Sweeties to get 4-8 pieces per pepper) and add to the pickling mix.
17.Set aside for 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.
19.Use a sharp knife to make a small cross on the base of each tomato and put in a bowl.
20.Cover with boiling water and leave for about a minute to soften the skin. Remove and peel off the skin.
21.Cut each tomato in quarters, trim off the core, scoop out the seeds and discard.
22.Cut each quarter into two pieces and put in a small bowl with a sprinkle of salt and the vinegar and mix well.
23.Set aside until needed, but no more than 2 hours.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles