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A Tomato Lover’s Salad with Anchovy Breadcrumbs

Slathered in olive oil and sprinkled in crispy anchovy breadcrumbs, Kathy Slack's salad is a celebration of in-season tomatoes.

From the book

Introduction

This is the dish I make with the first tomato harvest each year. I trot out to the veg patch, all anticipation, on an afternoon when the tomatoes are
warm to the touch from the summer sunshine, snapping them off the vines, my fingers turning iridescent green in the process, and select a few
different colours and sizes in my trug: nature’s pick and mix. The legwork of the harvest is done by the tomato stalwarts, like Gardener’s Delight, which is reliably red, sweet and juicy. But the glamour comes from the heritage varieties: a seductive burgundy Black Cherry, the clown-like
stripes of Tigerella, a flash of orange from the ridiculously named Banana Legs. These are names from a Wonka factory not a seed catalogue.

And for a salad to celebrate such star quality, only the best will do. Use top drawer olive oil, take time to marinade the onion into sweet submission, hunt down those Spanish anchovies in oil that aren’t all bone. And don’t rush: slice the tomatoes carefully, lavish some attention on them. If you’ve grown them yourself, this instinct will come naturally. After all, they’ve been distractingly needy, like all celebs, since you sowed them in early spring. This dish, I think, is the best way to show off the results of that effort and salute their allure.

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Ingredients

500g tomatoes, really top-notch ones in a variety of colours and sizes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A small bunch of basil, leaves picked
20 - 30 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
¼ red onion, sliced into very fine slivers
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
4 tinned anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed

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Method

Chop the tomatoes into irregular chunks and muddle them around in a serving bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, all the basil leaves and a big pinch of salt. If you have them, add the sun-dried tomatoes now too. Put the bowl to one side, somewhere sunny if possible, and leave to mingle while you get on with the rest of the dish.

Mix the red onion with the vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside to soften for 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and add the breadcrumbs, frying them for a couple of minutes until they start to turn golden. Add the anchovies and garlic and keep stirring for 1–2 more minutes until the breadcrumbs are crispy, then remove from the heat.

Drain the sliced onion and add to the tomatoes, then scatter over the breadcrumbs and whisk the salad to the table to serve while the the breadcrumbs are still crunchy.

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From the book: From the Veg Patch

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