The truth is, most tomato salads don’t need a recipe. Vinegar, olive oil, plenty of crunchy salt, and call it a day. If you have some herbs on hand, throw those in. What would a tomato salad look like if it deserved a recipe? Something like this. Very savory. Topped with garlic-chile crisp and dressed with its delicious oil. Anchovies and fennel seeds heighten the tomato’s flavor while bringing even more savory undertones. It’s spicy, with the chile flakes. This isn’t a simple caprese that you whipped up on a summer afternoon. It’s still simple but steals the show.
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oil-packed anchovies, drained
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed or finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (any size will do), some sliced and some cut into wedges, or small tomatoes (such as Sungold and/or cherry), some halved and some left whole
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 cup basil leaves
Flaky sea salt
In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, and anchovies. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is barely golden and crisp and the anchovies have melted away, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.
Place the tomatoes on a large platter and splash with the vinegar. Spoon the chile crisp over and scatter the basil on top. Finish with plenty of salt and serve.
The chile crisp can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge.
“Reprinted from The Cook You Want To Be. Copyright © 2022 Andy Baraghani Photographs copyright © 2022 Graydon Herriott. Published by Lorena JonesBooks, an imprint of Random House”
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