Provençal tomato salad – it’s not actually a ‘real’ Provençal dish, not in the way that pissaladière, aïoli and ratatouille are. But for me this recipe encapsulates the essence of southern France. Ripe-red firm tomatoes, bursting with sunshine. Pungent, juicy rose garlic. Anchovies, salty, rich and deep. It makes me think of rolling purple fields, cicada song at midday, and a wrought iron table set for lunch in the shade of an ancient plane tree.
For me this is not so much a tomato salad as a complete meal. I serve it up with plenty of crusty baguette to mop up the herby savoury dressing – that and a crisp, dry rosé. As I mop up the last morsel I sit back satisfied, smug and feeling just a little bit French. Non, je ne regrette rien.