In the Pacific Northwest, August and September is when the hefty 90 day heirloom tomatoes, like the brandywines, come ripe.
It’s time to talk of tomato sandwiches, that celebration of tomatoes and summer between two slices of bread. The tomato sandwich I lust after all winter has a thick slice of tomato that goes across the slice of bread. I can’t think of any food that expresses summer more than a tomato sandwich made with a homegrown or farmer’s market tomato, a real tomato. The supermarket tomato is grown to be shipped 3000 miles any time of the year and to have a three week shelf life. Taste gets left behind. A tomato sandwich celebrates the real tomato and its late summer season. We have waited.
I asked on Facebook how people make their tomato sandwich. The forty-five responses were passionate, opinionated. A good number had a “recipe” that had been in the family for multiple generations, most often simply two slices of white bread, mayo, sometimes butter, and salt and pepper. Repondents fell into two bread camps…a high quality crusty slow-proofed artisanal bread and mass produced “enriched” white bread.
I fall into both camps. I enjoy tomato sandwiches made with great crusty artisanal bread, lightly toasted or not. However a tomato sandwich made with great bread is as much about the bread as the tomato. Good bread, especially chewy good textured bread actually gets in the way of the tomato. The tomato shares the stage with the bread, not a bad thing, but if I want to get down with a great tomato, I go for the “stays-fresh-longer”, no-taste white bread.
RECIPE FOR A WHITE BREAD TOMATO SANDWICH:
Two slices of white bread.
Slather of butter (because…)
Best Foods mayo (Hellman’s on the East Coast, Dukes in the South)
Thick (1/2″) slice of tomato. Juiciness and needing a napkin is an essential part of the experience. The tomato slice should cover the slice of bread.
Sea salt and black pepper.
Make the sandwich.
Cut the sandwich in two for an appetizing view of the bite to come.
Enjoy! You’ll neet a napkin.