Tomato anchovy and red onion salad

just 3 ingredients !

Easy tapas dish or a simple light lunch with some yummy sourdough.


Last updated Feb 12, 2021 at 1:39PM | Published on Aug 7, 2020

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Such a simple lunch inspiration. We had it with a few other delicious fishy dishes as a shared starter yesterday on the seafront at Portopetro in Mallorca. (Promise you it wasn’t only the rosé and the view that inspired me to make this at home today.) Had the best (different !) local rosé too, called 2012 TwentyTwelve.

I couldn’t believe how tasty it was and how easy to re-create the dish. Living in Spain, we’ve learned to always have anchovies in the fridge… either the ones in vinaigrette for aperitif time, or the ones in oil in a jar for cooking with.

Anchovies vs. Boquerones

Ps I used to hate anchovy!!! Used to think they were only hairy and fishy.. but these ones come vacuum packed in the vinegar. The vinegar cooks them and they’re quite the opposite… so meaty and tasty and I can’t resist just popping them in my mouth, who’d have thought !

In fact, I have to correct myself here – they’re Boquerones  – the resulting taste difference being that they’re much less salty and more meaty tasting. Anchovies we know in jars and cans are usually cured, the Boquerones are apparently anchovies that have not been cured. They are fresh, and usually pickled in vinegar.

The journey has started !

I feel myself going on a journey with this easy recipe – I’d like to try it maybe with battered anchovies or pickled or grilled sardines, or capers and some 4th ingredient… pickled peppers etc ! Let me know in the comments if you do this… or have any other ideas. 

tomato and anchovy salad with red onions

So simple, tasty, and complete as a light lunch

Basic Ingredients

So we had anchovy, tomato, red onion salad. And that’s pretty much all we needed apart from some salad dressing . Seasoning, and bread.


I haven’t seen Boquerones oustide Spain – let me know pretty please if you can get them in your country. The other words on the pack are in the local Mallorquin language – a little like Catalan. It’s lovely to see this, and hear all the locals speaking Mallorquin here. Sounds like a combination of French / Spanish / Italian to me. This whole island feels like that combination too i many ways.

We had this pack between the two of us – perfect size – about 15 pieces in the pack.

User tips & kitchen tools

Mandoline – we use a Bron mandoline, but that’s because Paul likes to have the best commercial one that’s going to last us a lifetime. You don’t need to spend that much, in fact this MILcea one is simpler and really popular ! You need the slices to be thin, but not transparent or paper thin otherwise they’ll lose shape and colour when they cook.

Vegetable peeler – If you don’t have a mandoline, then try using a vegetable / potato peeler to get really wafer thin onion slices. The one at our rental flat was pretty terrible but I still managed to get what I wanted, even if a little clumsily ! It will leave your fingers a little more onion smelling though so it really does work washing them with something metal. We used to have one of these metal soups bythe kitchen sink, but now on our travels it didn’t make the ‘necessary tools’ list !

Large knife and Board for the tomatoes. We like to use the heel or a large chef´knife for the almond crunching, and big long lasting commercial style boards, and they’ve lasted us forever ! i like to use a separate board ( often a smaller one) for onions & garlic, and one for lemons & limes. Using the right coloured board for the right food is a pet nag of mine ! A wooden board is nice too for chopping nuts, or bread !

Jar with lid or hand blender for mixing the dressing. You really only need to put the oil and vinegar in a jar and shake (with the lid on !) . If you have a hand blender of course this will do a better job faster – but it’s not necessary.

The bread – I said it’s optional but I’m finding I can’t have this dish without a good slice of sourdough ! We just had it again today ( see pic below… do you like the new starfish presentation !) I had to send Paul out to the bakery for some bread – it was worth it. I can’t believe how filling it can be as a whole lunch.

pickled fresh anchovy is boquerony
how to make wafer thin red onion slices - without a mandolin

Here’s the simple method.

1. Choose a ripe tomato each ( have fun and chop how you like.. I like to vary it so chunky worked better here with the other flatter ingredients.
Place in your two serving dishes and sprinkle some nice salt flakes.

2. Slice some red onion slices – the finer the better. We couldn’t bring our mandoline here so I discovered that a potato peeler works so well ( swipe over to next pic to see) not the easiest but really successful outcome?


3. Make a very simple salad dressing. I didn’t use it all but blitzed up with the hand blender 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1-1.5 tablespoons Sherry vinegar. If you don’t like too much vinegar go for one spoon especially if the anchovy is very vinegary. Again, in Spain we always have sherry vinegar for any recipe that feels Spanish because that’s what they would use here. Red wine vinegar and a touch of balsamic would equate I feel.


4. Spoon some of the dressing over the tomato onion mix. Add the pickled anchovies and a little more sauce. Sprinkle black pepper.


5. Serve with some yummy crusty bread ( this one is sourdough baguette from the super Swedish  Fika Farina bakery here in Palma).

this made me like anchovies !


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