Tomato Salad With Anchovy Vinaigrette

by Anne Maxfield on September 12, 2013

Accidental Locavore Tomato SaladThe 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

Accidental Locavore Making DressingIn a small bowl, toss the shallot with the vinegar and let stand for at least 10 minutes.

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!




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When a Small Farm Fails, Does Anyone Notice?

by Anne Maxfield on June 4, 2012

Accidental Locavore FarmThis past week and especially the weekend were especially sad for the Accidental Locavore. The news was something I’d been hoping–desperately hoping – not to hear for almost six months now. When I finally got in touch with my farmer about continuing our arrangement for my weekly farm box, he said he wasn’t farming anymore. The hurricane and subsequent storms from last August had wiped him out. And a farm that had been feeding people for generations is no more.

Accidental Locavore FarmstandThey say that cooking is cathartic, writing, too, and that things happen for a reason. Because there were some cans of good tuna in oil out on the counter, this morning I started to prep the ingredients to be cooked for a salad Niçoise: eggs (from my friend Bill), potatoes and haricots verts. As it turned out there were about eight potatoes that had been from one of last summer’s final boxes. A few wrinkled red new potatoes and some old-looking purple ones. Normally I might have tossed them, but they just looked a little aged and they were from the farm, the last I’ll ever have, so I took care to boil them properly.

With the salad I’ll make a dressing in the traditional French way using two tiny shallots I found in the bottom of the drawer with the potatoes, a last gift from the farm.

Accidental Locavore A Salad NicoiseFood is fleeting, like music or theater. A taste, a sight, a smell, a memory of what was. You never realize how much of your life is entwined with something like the farm, until it’s gone. Although running down the road for a last-minute tomato or ear of corn has been a thing of the past for a few years now, the Friday night farm box pick-up, with the delicious surprises inside, was the inspiration for this site. It gave me a clearer understanding of what brings me pleasure and has made me not only a better writer, but a much more adventurous cook. The farmer taught me an immense amount, not only what to look for in a zucchini, but literally offered me tastes of things I’ve never had before, like kohlrabi and elderberries. I’ve grown accustomed to the ease of preparing food that comes from just down the road, with a taste that cannot be duplicated by big agribusiness, no matter how “organic” they are.

And so, with these last potatoes, this shallot, I salute this farm. It will be sorely missed.Accidental Locavore Deserted Farm






Recipe for Classic Vinaigrette

by Anne Maxfield on September 25, 2011

Accidental Locavore French LettuceUsually the Accidental Locavore makes a vinaigrette using lemon juice and olive oil, but every now and then you need to revert to a classic  French vinaigrette.

  • 1 small shallot or garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4  cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (smooth or coarse or a mix)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (optional)

Put everything in a jar and shake it up, otherwise, add everything to a small bowl or measuring cup and beat it with a fork until well combined. It will start to thicken as it becomes emulsified. Pour over salad greens, toss to mix well, serve and enjoy!



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