One of the great joys of gardening is eating the tasty fruits of your labor. And one of the great joys of summer is the vine ripened tomato. Put the two together and you have my favorite lunch.
At the moment, it's open faced, just showing off the gorgeous color of the tomatoes. This particular sandwich has all my favorite tomatoes in it, Green Zebras are under all the baby Gem lettuce. Green Zebra has the best flavor - slightly tart with a hint of acid but big bold tomato flavor and a certain richness. The heaping pile in the foreground sees red Juliet, a large grape tomato with fabulous meaty flavor and wonderful disease resistance, and it's our favorite for sauce making as well. (See this post for my sauce recipe.) Cherry tomatoes top Juliet, both Sungold, an early prolific producer of sweet sort of tropical flavored tomatoes, and White Cherry, which isn't really white, but a blushed lemon color, and has a true tomato flavor with a nice juicy finish. A beautiful collection, even if I do say so myself.
The bread used here is a miche from Wegman's made with a nice sour starter and OG flour. Crusty and relatively dense, it makes a nice sponge for all those juices. To help prevent the bread from getting too soggy, I've shmushed an avocado with a little sea salt and used that as my schmear, something all good tomato sandwiches need. Very often the schmear is mayonnaise. Now we can debate the merits of mayo vs Miracle until the cows come home, each has their audience. As long as there are tomatoes and good bread, in a pinch, I could go either way.
The baby Gem lettuce is basically miniature romaine, and I cut it in thin slices the sort way to get more surface area. This helps prevent the dreaded sandwich slide. You know the one, where your sandwich filling squirts out the bottom of your bread and you end up taking the next bite with your hands over your head? The shreds create all sorts of nooks and crannies for the tomatoes to snuggle into and stay locked in place. Have I sold you on the merits of the shred yet?
This simple sandwich benefits from a good amount of seasoning, so be generous with the salt and pepper. Dousing the shred with a housemade balsamic dressing that the husband makes adds umami to the dish and really brightens up the acidity, something I love. You could just as easily use a Green Goddess or something else creamy and tangy. In fact, if you're so inclined, there are infinite variations to my tomato theme. You could add or substitute:
-fresh mozzarella and basil
-shmush some white beans and spread
-arugula, feta and watermelon
-prosciutto, salami, crispy pancetta
-simple drizzle of the best olive oil you can buy along with aged balsamic
Or for something a little outside the box, cube and toast your bread and mix with wedges of tomatoes and basil for a panzanella. Add some butter or olive oil and garlic to that bread before toasting takes your panzanella to a whole new level.
You can't go wrong with tomatoes and bread, enjoy!