Tomato Sandwich with Anchovy Aioli

May 24, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 1 (sandwich, the aioli makes about 1 cup)
Author Notes

Okay, it's not quite tomato season here yet, but thinking about aioli, I couldn't resist going and buying some early season tomatoes to make into a sandwich schmeared all over with aioli because I really think it's one of the best uses there is for it. The traditional tomato-mayo combination is gussied up just slightly by adding anchovies and capers. I got the idea of adding anchovies to aioli from a friend who adds anchovies with her mayo all the time on sandwiches. It's delicious. (She has also been known to drizzle cod liver oil over her tomato and avocado sandwiches. This, I find much less appealing.)
I like a higher amount of olive oil in my aioli because I like the intensity of the flavor, especially with all the other flavors here. You can really use any neutral tasting oil in the place of canola oil but just please don't use regular vegetable oil (corn or soy) because it's really not good for you. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

As this recipe looked pretty simple, I decided to make it at the worst time possible – Monday morning before heading out to work. I made the anchovy aioli at home and packed the tomato, bread, capers and aioli to bring in for lunch. The aioli (and packing) took about 15 to 20 minutes, including washing up. And the aioli came together beautifully. I used an Araucana chicken egg, Pianogrillo olive oil and coarse Trapani sea salt. No blender or second person needed. I cheated and did not add the oil drop by drop, but in about ½ teaspoon amounts to begin with and increasing as I went without a problem. The sandwiches were terrific and I converted a co-worker (my poor minion) to an anchovy lover. - jacqueline_willis —jacqueline_willis

What You'll Need
  • anchovy aioli
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 2 oil packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • Tomato sandwich
  • 1 generous slice of good multigrain bread
  • 2 tablespoons (use more or less to taste, I am a slatherer) of anchovy aioli
  • 1 medium perfectly ripened slicing tomato (whatever variety looks best and most perfect when you're buying - I wound up using a couple smaller campari tomatoes instead)
  • 1 teaspoon (a heaping one) of capers (the kind that come in brine, not salt)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. anchovy aioli
  2. Chop the garlic coarsely, then add a pinch of salt to it and smash it to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Coarsely chop the anchovies and mash those into a paste with the garlic.
  3. Transfer the garlic-anchovy mixture to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and egg yolk to the bowl and whisk well until blended.
  4. Drop by drop, start whisking in the canola oil (it helps to have someone else do the oil pouring - as demoed by Amanda), whisking vigorously to emulsify it.
  5. Then, start pouring in the olive oil in a very thin stream, whisking like mad all the while to keep everything emulsified. Whisk until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture is thick. If it is too thick, whisk in a tiny amount of water (or lemon juice), but use a gentle touch so you don't accidentally over-thin it.
  6. Adjust salt to taste (the anchovies are quite salty, so I find I don't really need much). Then use in any number of ways, but most especially go and make yourself a tomato sandwich (see below). The aioli will also keep for a week in the fridge.
  1. Tomato sandwich
  2. Toast your piece of bread, then set it aside on a cooling rack. (I like my sandwiches open faced. If you prefer closed sandwiches, then simply toast two slices.)
  3. Slice your tomato into nice thick slices, about 1/4 inch.
  4. Generously spread aioli all over one side of your bread slice. Then, layer on the tomato slices. Use as many as you can reasonably fit. Then, carefully sprinkle the capers on top. Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper.
  5. Eat - carefully! It's a bit of a mess. I just love messy sandwiches. Then, repeat frequently until your aioli is used up! :)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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19 Reviews

Robert December 13, 2021
Real good. But think about this - chiffonade three fat basil leaves, fresh-picked from the garden, and spread them on top.
Summer O. June 2, 2011
Oh this is right up my alley. I wish I could test it but I'm traveling all week.
fiveandspice June 2, 2011
I know the feeling! I'm too crazy busy to test anything this week too. But, I hope you get a chance to give it a try sometime!
BlueKaleRoad May 31, 2011
I love tomatoes and just planted mine in the garden...I have a long time to wait to enjoy this sandwich. I love your use of anchovies.
fiveandspice June 1, 2011
It'll be worth the wait! :)
Kukla May 26, 2011
I know it is delicious, because that taste is very familiar, and in my opinion only a tomato on a salty smooth base plus good bread, is able to satisfy my taste buds also ( and thinly sliced onion).
That what I always feel when I eat the Roe caviar spread-aioli since my childhood.
fiveandspice May 26, 2011
Oh! I bet roe caviar spread-aioli is amazing! Love the idea of thinly sliced onion too. In fact, I wonder about thinly sliced onions that have been quickly pickled, hmmmm.
mrslarkin May 25, 2011
This sounds like perfection!
fiveandspice May 25, 2011
Thanks! It's a favorite, and it really tastes like summer!
wssmom May 25, 2011
Cannot WAIT for tomato season!
fiveandspice May 25, 2011
Me either! Though I also really don't want asparagus season to end ever. What a dilemma!
aargersi May 25, 2011
yeah I may cheat ....
fiveandspice May 25, 2011
It's not cheating, it's better living through technology... ;-)
aargersi May 25, 2011
Oh YUM - my tomatoes are starting to roll in and i LOVE LOVE a good tomato sandwich ... I will try this, I think I have everything I need on hand. Looks like we will all have "aioli arm" by the end of the weekend!!!
fiveandspice May 25, 2011
If you do try it, let me know what you think! I'm already starting to have a cramped elbow! I think I might turn to the food processor method, here soon.
HollowLeg May 25, 2011
This sounds delicious! I'll have to try it when I get some good tomatoes.
fiveandspice May 25, 2011
Thank you! I hope you do. Tomatoes are not at their peak here yet, but I just couldn't stop myself from having one of these for lunch yesterday!
Sagegreen May 24, 2011
Great idea!
fiveandspice May 24, 2011
Thank you!