You say tomato . . .

Within the past year or so, one of my favorite publications, Southern Living, began a new feature in its hallowed foods section.  I believe it’s called “Mama’s Way/Your Way,” and the general idea is to take an iconic Southern dish and share the old-school recipe and then offer an updated version.  Usually, the modern adaptation offers considerable savings in either prep time or in artery-clogging ingredients. 
Here’s my version of “Mama’s Way/Your Way” featuring the beloved tomato sandwich.
The traditional tomato sandwich is both simple and perfect, relying on key ingredients that must not be changed.IMG_2131A locally grown vine-ripened tomato is, of course, the most important ingredient.  Please, no substitutions.  If the tomato grew in your garden, so much the better; if not, the farmer’s market or a roadside stand tomato will work fine.  A grocery store tomato will not suffice.  Next up, Duke’s mayonnaise.  This brand is not available everywhere, so you may have to make do on this one.  Hellman’s will work.  I like Jane’s Krazy Mixed-up Salt, but regular salt and pepper will be just as good.  Now for the bread, personally, I use whole wheat bread these days, but, remember this is “Mama’s Way,” so white bread is the authentic choice. IMG_2132 So slice the tomato, and let the slices drain for a minute or two on paper towels.  Then, salt and pepper them well.  Slather the bread with mayonnaise, add the tomato slices, and give the whole thing a gentle press.  If possible, eat this on a back porch while drinking sweet tea.  For dessert, have a fresh peach.
I say tomahto . . .
The updated tomato sandwich offers a lot of great  flavor, too.  And the ingredients are no less important, although there is more room for creativity.IMG_2128
A vine-ripened tomato is key.  Again, no grocery store ‘maters will do.  Fresh basil is a must; as is fresh mozzarella.  I like ciabatta bread as the base for this sandwich, but any hearty country bread will do.  If you like, drizzle the bread with a flavorful olive oil, and then add the tomatoes, basil and cheese.  Top with Jane’s Krazy Salt or another favorite seasoning.  These are great sandwiches to take to an outdoor concert or to enjoy for a light supper with a glass of wine.  Again, a fresh peach makes the perfect dessert.
Coming soon, a recipe for the best tomato pie ever!

7 comments:

  1. Mike and I ate tomato sandwiches for lunch today after church. Yumalicious! And you are so right, grocery store tomatoes will just not do!

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  2. Yum! I love tomato sandwiches but I must have the bread toasted and a little grainy mustard!

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  3. I have always wondered about tomato sandwiches since reading the southern blogs. They are not a regional favorite in SoCal but I'm going to try it. I've been watching my beauties in the garden every day. I stayed in the home the last couple days due to the heat and something got to a couple before I did! It's war! :) Take care. xoxo

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  4. I love tomatoes and am dying for them to ripen in the garden. I just had to buy some in the store today and they are just not the same at all!

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  5. Oh, I love tomato sandwiches! Grocery store tomatoes just don't cut it for most tomato dishes, I find. Pasta sauce and casseroles, perhaps, but I've gotten spoiled now that I can grow tomatoes on the deck.

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  6. I absolutely adore tomato sandwiches and I loved this post! I love SL magazine and your version of their article is even better :)

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  7. I just brought in vine ripened tomatoes from the garden. Now I know what I'll be having for lunch tomorrow ~ care to join me :)

    Jo

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