It may sounds obvious, but the best advice we can give you when using tomatoes is to make sure they are red and ripe. Green or unripe varieties have their culinary uses but they are not welcome in this recipe. This is a dish designed to be shared on a large plate or platter and is built in layers.
5 large pitted kalamata olives or other good black olives
100ml white vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 red onion, cut into 5 mm thick rings
1 tbsp salt flakes
4 large round tomatoes, cut into 1 cm thick slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
6 white anchovy fillets, halved crosswise
1 fresh basil leaves
1. Place the olives in the freezer.
2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Reserve the small inner and large outer onion rings for another use. For this recipe, we’ll use only the even, medium-sized onion rings. Place them in a bowl with the salt. Leave for a few minutes to soften a little. Pour over the vinegar mixture and set aside.
4. Arrange the tomatoes on a large serving plate. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with the olive oil. Arrange the anchovy fillets over the top, spacing them evenly to ensure that each diner gets at least one.
5. Remove the olives from the freezer and grate them over the tomato and anchovy. Use as much or as little as you like.
6. Scatter the onion rings over the top. The salad should be gaining some height and interest by now. Garnish with the basil leaves.
From Nuovo Mondo by Stefano de Pieri and Jim McDougall.