This dish is all about the tomatoes. It’s hard to perfectly replicate a delicious, fresh salad from Sicily’s Aeolian islands when in the UK, yet we produce many delicious varieties of tomatoes that will stand up well in comparison. I’d use a plum vine or a Bull’s Heart tomato – ensure they are ripe, but not over ripe. I like to use a sweet-sour grape must (saba) for the dressing, which is smoother and fruitier than a vinegar, but an aged balsamic will also do nicely.
10 medium-sized, medium-ripe, sweet red tomatoes (vine-ripened are best), sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons plump capers
2 handfuls of pitted green olives
2 tropea onions or small red onions, finely sliced
6 anchovies in oil, chopped
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
10 basil leaves, torn
For the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons saba (grape must) or balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the grape must and extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste.
To assemble the salad, carefully arrange the tomato slices on a serving plate and sprinkle over the capers, olives, onions, anchovies and herbs. Season well, then drizzle over the vinaigrette.
Leave the salad for 5 minutes, so all the flavours come together, before serving.
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Sicilia: A love letter to the food of Sicily
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