Summertime brings about some of my favorite vegetables and fresh fruit to make all kinds of great things with. I love to go to the farmers’ markets and see what I can get from some of the local farms and I always come back with something great and delicious. Know that Monroe finally has its own farmers’ market every Sunday I can just drive to town and get some great stuff, which I did this past weekend. I got a great haul of strawberries and peaches, but I also picked up some local beets, cauliflower, honey, heirloom tomatoes and even a chuck roast from one of the local farms that raises organic beef. Tomatoes are just starting to hit their stride now and instead of turning to what you can get at your local supermarket and pay lots more for sub par fresh tomatoes, go to your nearest farmstand or farmers’ market and get some great heirlooms. I got a basket of heirloom tomatoes which had 6 good-sized tomatoes in it for only $6.00 where they easily sell for at least four dollars a pound in my local store. Now that I have some great tomatoes to use, I needed to find something to make. The first thing I thought of was to have a great lunch with a classic and simple tomato sandwich. You probably don’t even really need a recipe for a tomato sandwich, but I took this idea from Melissa Clark at New York Times Cooking, followed her idea and added a bit to it to really make it my own.
4 slices crusty bread
1 fat garlic clove, halved crosswise
1 ripe, soft tomato, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mayonnaise, as needed
1 ripe heirloom tomato, sliced
Thinly sliced red or white onion
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced thinly (optional)
4 slices cooked bacon (optional)
Toast the bread slices until they are golden. Take each slice and rub one side all over with the cut side of the garlic clove. (The clove should start to disintegrate into the bread.) Rub each slice with the cut sides of the soft halved tomato, pressing so the tomato flesh sticks to the bread. Drizzle the bread with the olive oil, then sprinkle each slice with a bit of salt.
Spread the mayonnaise over the tomato pulp on the slices of bread. Place the sliced heirloom tomatoes on top of 2 pieces of the bread. Cover the tomato slices with the onions and sprinkle them with salt. Top with the avocado slices or the bacon if using, sprinkle on some freshly ground pepper to taste and then use the other 2 slices of tomato-rubbed bread to make sandwiches.
You have lots of options of course, as you do with any sandwich. I omitted the bacon she suggested as I just wanted the taste of the tomato and avocado with the onion. I prefer the bite a red onion provides, but if you like something mellower a white onion is also good. The combination on the sandwich of the great-tasting tomatoes with the onion, avocado and the little hint of garlic on the bread makes it all a perfect lunch. I put a little bit of parsley on mine for some extra flavor and you could do the same with some lettuce, arugula, spinach, fresh basil or anything else you might like. I made the sandwich on my favorite homemade bread and it was divine. It is the perfect sandwich to have during the summer and it makes me wish I could get heirloom tomatoes like this locally all year-long.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!