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.A 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.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.
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! Do you have a favorite tomato recipe?