Anchovy, Basil, and Tomato Sandwiches With Aioli Recipe

The great thing about anchovies is that a little goes a long way. Since they pack such a salty/savory wallop, the tiny tinned fish can add an extra dimension of flavor to many dishes when used in just the right amounts.

Just a few anchovy fillets, for example, can make a light sandwich incredibly satisfying. Rustic Italian bread slathered with garlic aioli and layered with fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, and a sprinkling of capers all make for a great match with anchovy fillets—almost like a Provencal BLT of sorts with the salty anchovies subbing in for the bacon, and basil in place of the lettuce.

The pungent garlic from the aioli, along with the peppery herbal bite from the basil, and sweet tang of the tomatoes helps to balance the saltiness of the anchovies and capers. And since only a few anchovy fillets are shingled into the sandwich, there's plenty of savory/umami flavor without the sandwich being overly fishy.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Makes: 2 sandwiches

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  • For the Aïoli:
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the Sandwiches:
  • 4 slices rustic Italian bread
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained


  1. To make the aioli, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the oil in a slow, steady stream until all oil is used and sauce is thick. Set aside.

  2. Spread the aioli on one side of each of the bread slices. Evenly divide the basil leaves amongst two of the bread slices, then layer the tomato slices on top of the basil. Season the tomatoes with the salt and black pepper. Evenly divide the anchovy fillets and lay them on top of the tomatoes. Evenly divide the capers between the two sandwiches, then top each sandwich with the remaining bread slices. Serve immediately.