Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies

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Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies

Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies. When you first cook this dish it seems impossible to believe that it will not be unbearably salty. Afterall, I did use a whole can of anchovies. However, the thing about cooking with anchovies is they seem to act more as a seasoning ingredient than a flavor. Same goes with roasting foods in a salt crust. It amplifies flavor without really changing its nature. In this instance, the sweet, juicy tomatoey-ness of heirloom tomatoes.

Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies

I saw salt-crusted tomatoes on a restaurant menu recently and thought it sounded like a fun, innovative dinner party starter. Salt roasting may be popping up at trendy restaurants everywhere, however the technique is not new. Along the Mediterranean, it’s a popular cooking method with ancient roots. Most commonly as a way to keep fish flaky and moist. In China, they have been roasting chickens by burying them in hot salt for centuries. This is one of those venerable culinary traditions that still resonates with us today.

For those unfamiliar with the method, here’s the general idea: You encase given ingredients, such as these tomatoes, in a shell of wet salt then place them in a hot oven to cook. The salt crust seals in moisture and gently steams the tomatoes in their own juices – seasoning them slightly at the same time. The finished product is juicy and bursting with flavor. To serve, bring the warm dish to the table and have the guests break open the salt crust into large pieces and set them aside. You’ll be surprised how sturdy the salt shell becomes with cooking. To eat, brush aside as much of the crumbs as possible and scoop out the warm tomato flesh. I served mine slathered on toasted baguette slices. GREG

Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and AnchoviesSalt-Crusted Tomatoes and AnchoviesSalt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies

Tomatoes and Anchovies Roasted in a Salt Crust

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4-6Source Inspired by Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez DentonPublished
Tomatoes and Anchovies Roasted in a Salt Crust

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 cup coarse kosher salt (plus more if needed)
  • 2 pound tomatoes (various sizes, colors and shapes is fine)
  • 1 (2 oz) can anchovy fillets (drained)
  • 15-20 large, fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • toasted baguette slices

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Prep the salt crust: In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Stir in the salt until paste forms. The mixture should be the consistency of wet beach sand. Add more salt if the mixture seems too loose or wet. Set aside.

Prep the tomatoes: If the tomatoes are large remove their cores at the stem end with a paring knife, then score the other end with a shallow”X”. You may skip the scoring and coring on smaller tomatoes, such as cherry or grape. Place the tomatoes, cored side down, into a shallow baking dish small enough to hold all the tomatoes side-by-side in a single layer. Drape the anchovies across the slits to taste and tuck the basil leaves between and on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.

Assemble the dish: Tightly pack the salt mixture on top and all around the tomatoes forming a dome about 3/4-inch thick. Make sure there are no gaps or holes.

To cook, transfer the baking dish to a baking sheet and place in the heated oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and allow it to rest about 15 minutes.

To serve, use a sharp knife to cut all around the edge of the salt dome. Remove the crust in as large of pieces as possible and set them aside. Brush away the salt crumbs and scoop the flesh out with spoons to slather on toasted baguette slices.

Salt-Crusted Tomatoes and Anchovies

 

 

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