Summer tomato salad, anchovy aioli, basil, torn bread

In my experience the most pleasant foods to eat are those that are so fresh that you hardly have to handle them at all to make a great dish. This dish taps  the essence of a summer Minneapolis staple, tomatoes. 

Incredible tomatoes can be found at nearly every market in the summer and this dish just plays with their naturally acidic and sweet flavor. A little anchovy aioli brings in some savory and fatty flavors, while toasted bread adds a nice crunch and basil contributes a layer of freshness. This recipe will be enough to feed four people.

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • Nob of butter
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 egg yolk from a local farm
  • 1 clove garlic smushed in mortar
  • 2 cleaned anchovies, smushed in mortar
  • Cherry tomatoes to feed 4
  • Loaf of Rustica's levain
  • Basil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

First we need to make an aioli. Homemade aioli's can seem intimidating, but they're actually super easy to make if you just take your time. First take your pounded garlic and soak it in the juice of one lemon for 15 minutes in a mixing bowl to take away that harsh edge that comes with raw garlic. In the same mixing bowl add your anchovy and your egg yolk and a good pinch of salt. Whisk those ingredients together and have your grapeseed oil in hand in a container that will allow you to easily drizzle the oil. While constantly whisking, drizzle in your oil very slowly making sure the oil is emulsifying with the egg yolk until all the oil is gone. Add salt and lemon if you feel like it needs more and refrigerate you aioli. 

Next, take your loaf of bread - I really like to use the Levian from Rustica for this - remove the crust and cut it into thumbnail sized chunks (Use half the loaf for croutons and save the other half for something else). Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan and add your cut bread to the pan. Keep an eye on the bread and toast the bread on medium-high heat until it's brown and crispy on the outside, but still has a bit of softness in the middle. Once they are done, set them aside and attend to your tomatoes. 

This recipe is so simple but it's crucial that the tomatoes are bursting with flavor so take care when selecting them at the market. To prep your tomatoes, all you have to do is cut them in half and you can begin plating. In a small bowl, lay down a layer of aioli. Scatter you tomatoes cut side up over the aioli and sprinkle them with sea salt. Scatter some of the croutons on the plate and then finish the plate with either micro basil or freshly torn basil. 

Jon WIpfliComment