TOMATO & ANCHOVY BRUSCHETTA

‘Eat. Done. Enjoyed. Time to drink…’
This bruschetta is my saviour. It’s perfect when you know you have a long night ahead of you. This may or may not contain alcohol, but I’ll mind my business. It’s that kind of ‘excuse’ lunch, i.e. I’m eating something to ‘fill a hole’, it just so happens to be delicious.

The tomatoes have the right amount of sweetness to them to round out the punchy anchovy addition but the roasting ensures that they don’t go so sloppy that makes the bruschetta bread feel like a damp old Grandad slipper.

And don’t get me started on how to pronounce this. I am very well aware that it is pronounced as though there I a K in there but I have this really ignorant reluctance to saying things in an accent that is not mine own. I don’t want to butcher any sort of dialect but every time I try and pronounce a foreign ingredient in the accent of the country of its origin, I have an outer body experience and want to laugh at myself.

When really I just want to eat my bruschetta without being humiliated.

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Preheat an oven to 200C. Slice two large tomatoes in half and place guts side up in a shallow roasting tin. Grab four or five cloves of garlic and toss them in, skins and all. Cover the pan’s contents with a light drizzle of olive oil, a generous throw of sea salt and a twist of black pepper. Run your fingers down some thyme springs and push the leaves into the pan. Put the pan in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, grab yourself some anchovies and lay them in a bowl or on a plate. Grab a fork and mash the daylights out of them until they resemble fishy mush. Fishy mush. How adorable. After thirty is up, remove your tomatoes from the oven. Using the fork you used for the anchovies (no extra washing) press down on the garlic cloves and squeeze the caramelised garlic out of their skins. Toss out the crisped garlic gloves.

Throw the crushed anchovies into the pan – PS, you could totally do away with the anchovy mashing and just squirt some anchovy paste into the tomatoes if you had some. Grab yourself a potato masher and begin crushing the tomatoes, anchovies and garlic together. Don’t do this too vigorously. Nothing like a burning hot splatter of tomato juice in the eye to ruin your day.

Cut two slices of sourdough bread. My personal favourite but use any bread you like. Toast the bread to your favourite toast of toastiness. Drizzle this with a little olive oil. It’s important not to use butter here. Olive oil is what gives it that lovely whiff of its Tuscany roots. I’ve already butchered the pronunciation without bastardising the method. Scoop the tomato and anchovy mix onto the bread before sprinkling with a little more fresh thyme leaves.

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Eat. Done. Enjoyed. Time to drink.

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