I didn't always love onions. Especially raw onions. Some of my friends would probably be surprised since I've preached these zingy alliums for years. But it's true. Fortunately I truly believe that it only takes one amazing dish to make you change your mind.
When I first saw this salad in a bar in Madrid over 15 years ago I didn't want anything to do with it. I didn't like onions, anchovies, or tomatoes so I took a backseat as I let my family dive in (who was I??). After seeing their reactions, I reluctantly gave it a try. And I'm so so glad that I did. Because this salad made me fall in love with 3 ingredients I didn't particularly like. Since that night, I've made this salad countless times and it continues to be my favorite thing to eat especially in the early summer season when onions are oh so sweet. It doesn't hurt that it's so easy to make.
Try to use the best ingredients since there are only 4 ingredients in this salad. Vidalia is my preferred onion but any sweet onion will work. Get the ripest tomato you can find. For anchovies, my favorite is Merro (jar) for their plump and well balanced flavor and value. It also helps that Merro is a little milder than most so it's a good starter for anchovy newbies. Do not skimp on anchovies. If you want to go extra fancy I've heard Don Bocarte is amazing but very very pricey. Stay away from cheap anchovies, they are gross (think lots of bones, super fish and overly salty). I know I have King Oscar in the picture above but I can't recommend them. I just happened to take this photo while I tested anchovy brands.
Get a sharp knife or a mandoline and slice the onions paper thin. Cut the tomato into bite size slices and lay them on top of the onions. Then layer on some chopped anchovies and drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil. You are done! Now grab a fork and enjoy your perfectly simple salad.
Tip: If you decide to make this salad in the winter when onions are spicier, soak the slices in water for 20 minutes and squeeze the onions in the water. Drain and wring out the water by wrapping the onions in a dishcloth. The soak will help to make the onions much milder. Being an addict, I use this method for most of the year so I can eat 4 servings in one sitting all the time.
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