Monday, August 22, 2011

Perfect Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

{The Ultimate Minimalist Summer Snack}





Now that tomatoes are finally at their zenith here in the northeast, P. and I have been indulging in an old-fashioned, can't-be-improved-upon classic: just-off-the-vine tomato sandwiches. This year on the farm we have a smorgasbord of marvelous heirloom varieties and rainbow cultivars with names almost as colorful as their flesh, like Cherokee purple, Brandywine, black krim, green zebra, Mr. Stripy- the list goes on and on (as do the garden pests that have discovered these ripening beauties, but never mind).

The key to a memorable tomato sandwich is, of course, locally-grown, just-picked tomats (i.e. forget the ethylene-ripened ones from the grocery store) and really good bread. After making these puppies probably a dozen times over the past two weeks I decided thinly-sliced rye from our local bakery is the way to go, but a bosomy sourdough boule is a close second. Good ole' Hellmann's mayonnaise (or Best Foods if you're west of the Rockies) adds a hint of lemony sweetness that subtly boosts the flavor of the tomatoes, and don't be shy with the salt and pepper. (Fleur de sel, although pricey, is absolutely worth the investment; you wouldn't put diesel fuel in a Ferrari, so why put cheapo table salt on your heirloom tomatoes. Am I right? I'm right.) I know this is incredibly simple, but DAMN, I wouldn't waste your time if it weren't worth sharing. So go forth, get thee some Brandywines, and maketh this sandwich.

Perfect Heirloom Tomato Sandwich
Let late-summer heirloom tomatoes steal the show, but be generous with the salt and pepper. Eat while the toast is still warm.

Ingredients:
ripe heirloom tomatoes
fresh bread, thinly sliced and lightly toasted (I love rye or sourdough for this sandwich)
good mayonnaise (Hellmann's or Best Foods, or if you make your own all the power to you)
freshly-ground black pepper
fleur de sel (or other fancy finishing salt)

Directions:
While bread toasts, slice tomatoes. Spread mayonnaise thinly over both pieces of bread, layer one side with tomato slices, sprinkle abundantly with salt and pepper. Top with second slice of bread, cut in half. Serve immediately. Bon App├ętit!

28 comments:

  1. there is nothing i love more in this world than a tomato sammich in the summer. xo.

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  2. Seriously, the best sandwich ever! In fact, I've been deep in the South for two weeks, and I rape my father's tomato vines daily in order for my obscene dollop of mayo to enjoy some colorful company.

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  3. Yum, yum, yum. I will be making this very soon (I hope!)

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  4. I was having this conversation recently. Do you think heirloom tomatoes actually truly taste better? Or is it just that they're more aesthetically pleasing? What about the plain old red juicy ones growing in mom's garden...what beats those??

    Heart you Lilykins.

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  5. I've been eating my own heirlooms and little else for a month. yum! however, I much prefer grapeseed vegenaise ;)

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  6. YES. Yes yes yes. We have been doing this, too. Thank the good Lord for the really superb bakery in town, because I wouldn't be capable of baking bread fast enough to feed our tomato-bread addiction.

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  7. I think I will make this tonight! Looks simple and delicious, two of my favorite words

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  8. Nothing like a tomato with salt- Done and done.

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  9. So glad you guys are already weeks into your tomato feasting. So, so good, right? And I hear you on the veganaise, Jennifer- I love lemonaise, too.

    Anon (ahem, HOPIE)- I wouldn't argue that heirlooms are superior in taste to hybrid cultivars, per se, but that the variation in flavor and texture among heirlooms is far superior to your average store-bought tomato. There are plenty of beautiful, colorful heirlooms that taste bland and mealy, and those prove your friend's point, but for the most part I've found the most flavorful tomats to be some of the ones I listed above which include both heirlooms *and* especially tasty hybrids. If you got your west coast tail back to the farm I'd make you a plate of basilique, homegirl;)

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  10. Still waiting for my tomatoes here in Portland ... soon, I hope! Looks so good!

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  11. Looks amazing! May I humbly suggest adding cucumber? Tomato and cucumber sandwiches are my jam!

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  12. this looks so incredibly delicious!!! you have me jonesing for my tomatoes to ripen up!!!

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  13. This is a fave dinner for us lately! Have to get some fancy salt though.... ;)

    xo
    Cortnie

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  14. i couldn't find a single heirloom at wf yesterday, and it almost killed me.

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  15. Adele- yes you may, but only because you asked humbly ;)

    Majid- my dear, you need to be more specific.

    Mander- oh who but who is Harriet, pray tell!

    ESB- WF is in cahoots with Anon 12:50, methinks.

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  16. Ah, the perfect tomato sandwich indeed- I've had nothing else for lunch for about 2 weeks straight! I humbly second Adele's suggestion of adding cucumber slices as well. I do mine pretty much exactly as you described (on a nice, dense toasted sourdough), except that I like it open faced to allow for a bit more tomato. Messy, yes, but sooo worth it.

    Love your blog - makes me even more homesick than usual for coastal Maine. - Amanda

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  17. This looks incredible! The colors alone make me want to make one!

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  18. Its the best way to eat them I say!

    We can't wait until winter is over so we can plant our new season of tomato. It's been a long cold winter!

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  19. oooooh, harriet the SPYYYYY!

    Amanda (Dear Frances)- YES to dense sourdough. And open-face. Messy but especially delicious. And thanks. Coastal Maine, sigh.

    xo to all.

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  20. That looks really delicious! Man, does that bread look good! I live in France, but I'm always amazed by the breads you can find in the U.S. True story.

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