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March 6, 2013

A sandwich that gives a reason to love anchovies

Stay with me on this one. We’re going to make an open-faced anchovy sandwich. And you’re going to love it.

Admittedly, that’s a tall order for a sandwich that sports an ingredient many people tend to be skittish about. But you simply have to try this.

My inspiration came from eating many (and as far as I’m concerned, there never will be too many) amazing dinners at Seamus Mullen’s New York City restaurant, Tertulia. There is a reason I keep going back. He produces food designed to slap you across the face with flavor. And I like getting roughed up like that by my food.

One dish in particular I order every visit — tosta matrimonio, a simple starter of crisp bread topped with sheep’s milk cheese, anchovies and balsamic vinegar. It is punchy and full of flavor and not even a little bit fishy.

To enjoy this a bit more frequently (I am in New York only once a month or so), I decided to create my own version of this dish — an open-faced sandwich topped with ricotta, balsamic-drenched arugula and anchovies. The result is rich, tangy and powerfully flavorful. It also happens to be simple to assemble, making it a weeknight dinner dream.

But one caveat — my dish was inspired by Mullen’s, an attempt to capture the spirit of his dish. I did not try to recreate it. To taste the real deal, it’s well worth a visit to his eatery.

OPEN-FACED ANCHOVY SANDWICH WITH BALSAMIC ARUGULA

For a healthier take on this delicious sandwich, consider using part-skim ricotta and opt for a lighter, whole-grain bread.

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cups arugula

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

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