Home Food & Beverages Nicholas Balfe’s recipe for tomato, anchovy and bread salad

Nicholas Balfe’s recipe for tomato, anchovy and bread salad

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Good bread, ripe tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt. I reckon I could live off that for ever without getting bored; it’s the perfect balance of tangy, fruity, fresh, zingy, crunchy, chewy, savoury. That combination makes me think of lunch on the beach or on the balcony on holiday, but it’s just as delicious at home, as long as the ingredients are good quality.

This salad – which is a vaguely Middle Eastern riff on an Italian panzanella – takes those four key components and adds extra oomph with umami-packed anchovy, salty capers and a little extra depth of flavour via some herbs and spices. I have used Turkish chilli flakes and sumac, but you could easily swap those out for whatever you have to hand.

500g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 dessert spoon capers, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ tsp sea salt
1 pinch caster sugar
4 slices good quality bread
Olive oil – lots!
25ml sherry vinegar 
50g anchovies, chopped
1 small handful parsley, chopped
1 large handful dill fronds
1 tsp ‘pul bibir’ Turkish chilli flakes (or other type of dried chilli)
1/2 tsp sumac
More olive oil

Add the tomatoes to a large mixing bowl with the red onion, capers, one clove of finely chopped garlic, salt and sugar. Mix everything together and leave to sit for 10 minutes or so. As the tomatoes and onions marinate, they will give off lots of delicious juices, which will later be absorbed by the bread.

Meanwhile, toast the bread either in the oven, on a grill, on a BBQ, or even in the toaster. Once toasted, rub it with the remaining garlic clove and drizzle with oil. Tear the bread into irregular chunks and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Add all the other remaining ingredients and toss together, seasoning with salt and sherry vinegar as you go. Be liberal with the olive oil – the bread will soak it all up.

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