Recipe: Tomato & Anchovies with Bread Crumbs, Basil & Red Onion

updated Feb 3, 2020
Tomato & Anchovies with Bread Crumbs, Basil & Red Onion
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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Lately it’s been hot as all get-out in New York and this week the pilot light went out on my range, so I feel like I’m completely ensconced in no-cook cooking.

One of my favorite ways to feel like I’m getting a good dose of vitamins and protein without turning on the stove is a simple dish with slabs of tomato and anchovies marinated in vinegar, known as boquerones. Sometimes it’s enough for lunch, sometimes even dinner with a hunk of bread and a good cheese. Here’s a version that gets dressed up with bread crumbs, basil and red onion.

Like many composed dishes, this recipe is just a suggestion. For example, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use sardines or typical anchovies if you can’t find boquerones. Take out the bread crumbs for a gluten-free version. Skip the raw onions if you’re watching your breath; shallots or curly ribbons of sliced green onions would also work. Cook by feel. Use my words as a loose guide.

I prefer to toast the bread crumbs with a little smashed garlic and olive oil, but since we’re talking about making a dish without any heat, I’m leaving it out of the recipe. The recipe is written for one. Obviously, it’s easy to double, triple, etc. It can also be plated on a large platter for a crowd with the ingredients layered and splayed across the platter instead of stacked vertically.

I’ve been craving this dish, but tomatoes are not in season yet here in New York so I ended up springing for a green-house grown tomato from my local farmers’ market. When it’s hot out and you don’t want to cook, you find ways to satisfy your desires.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tomato & Anchovies with Bread Crumbs, Basil & Red Onion

Serves 1

Nutritional Info


  • 2 to 3

    thick slices from a large tomato

  • 3 to 5

    whole Boquerones or anchovy fillets

  • 1/8

    red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon

    bread crumbs, toasted if desired

  • 2 to 3

    basil leaves, sliced

  • 2 teaspoons

    extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    sherry vinegar

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Place one tomato slice in the middle of a plate. Top with one or two anchovies, a pinch of red onion, a pinch of bread crumbs, and a pinch of basil. Repeat this pattern, finishing with an anchovy or two then the remaining bread crumbs, basil and just a small pinch of red onion. You may have some onion leftover, go easy.

  2. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the top and finish with a few cracks of pepper.