simple dinner: fall tomato salad (pungent edition)
The moment tomatoes appear in the farmer's market every year is always a joyous moment, but slightly twinged with nostalgia -- summer is really and truly here. It is the peak time and it won't last long, so while we can, we must gather all the tomatoes possible, from tiny golden orbs to giant misshapen varieties, I am indiscriminate as long as they smell delicious. And even years like this one where the rains have thrown off the produce, and the tomatoes are less fragrant and less plentiful, we still buy them all: because after all, it's summertime.
And once we've eaten our share of plain, and general salads, and capreses, and summer is not really summer any longer, we come back and time and time again to a pared-down David Tanis recipe for a pseudo nicoise. Sliced of tomato are paired with garlic and anchovies and the lightest of vinaigrette. It has a bite, but it's bright and earthy and tastes like sun, even when the calendar says October.
- tomatoes, any kind, size, or shape, but make them ripe
- a few cloves of garlic
- olive oil and red or white wine vinegar
- shallot, if handy, but really don't stress it if not
- good oil-packed anchovies (typically they come in a small jar or tin)
Chop your garlic finely (and be careful about volume -- even with our Indian and Italian tastes, we've learned you can take this too far). If using shallots, chop as well. Cover both in vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes, then add olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Slice up your tomatoes and sprinkle lightly with flaky salt (and again: go lighter here than you think. The fish will give you a real punch to the face with their saltiness). Drizzle with the vinaigrette, then lay full anchovies on top. Sprinkle the whole thing with basil leaves, whole or torn.
Eat immediately, with crusty bread and extra topping for dippings.