The only time the Accidental Locavore has been truly crazy about anchovies was years ago at Chez Panisse. Other than that, I use them for cooking and make sure there are not big, stinky, pieces floating around. So I was curious and a little leery when this recipe for tomatoes with anchovy vinaigrette started popping up. Why would anyone want to ruin a good tomato (especially when the season is so short)? But even salad caprese has its limitations so I gave it a shot. This was originally from Food & Wine and serves 4. Use good quality olive oil and vinegar here.
- 1 medium shallot, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 anchovies, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes—large ones sliced, small ones halved
- 1 teaspoon Maldon Salt, or more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- About 8 basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade), for serving
Arrange the tomatoes on 4 plates, or in a large serving bowl. Scatter the shallot and vinegar over the tomatoes.
In a small skillet, over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest.
Warm the dressing to a gentle simmer; stir, mashing the anchovies slightly and let simmer 2 minutes. Pour over the tomatoes and toss gently to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Scatter the basil over the salad, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: I’ve made this twice in a week, so you can tell it was well received! The first time, the anchovies were a little too assertive for my taste, so the next go-round, I cooked them a little longer, letting them “melt” into the oil. If you’re an anchovy fan, mince them in bigger pieces and just let the oil warm. What made this a great dish was the crunch of shallots in contrast to the ripe tomatoes, with the lemon zest adding a bright note. Add in a few great tomatoes and this is a fabulous salad!