Saturday, September 24, 2011
Here’s a short post for an easy recipe for lunch or perhaps to accompany a big salad for supper. After gawking at the unbelievably gorgeous heart-of-the-summer tomatoes at the market today, I threw this sandwich together immediately upon returning home in my dire need to eat one as soon as possible. I must say that I was pretty impressed with how wonderfully it all came together.
That’s my humble way of saying that it was totally, totally awesome.
Summer Tomato Sandwich
Begin with a rustic whole wheat bread or another whole grain bread that you like and cut a nice size slice. In order to ensure that it’s actually whole grain, look at the ingredient list and make sure it uses the word “whole.” In other words, if is just says “wheat flour,” it’s not whole grain. It needs to say “whole wheat flour.” Sure, you can use a lovely non-whole grain bread: I get it, I love a good baguette or ciabatta, too, which is sometimes called for. (See, for example, my Mediterranean grilled sandwich with pesto and two cheeses.) But whole grain brings with it far more nutrition and lots of great flavors, so it’s the bread I most commonly consume for both taste and health reasons. (And, er, you should, too.) It’s also the perfect bread for this sandwich.
Whip up a quick garlic aioli. I took a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and added one crushed clove of garlic, a teaspoon or so of capers, a drizzle of olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice (white wine vinegar also works), and a grind of black pepper. (It is always worth it to use freshly ground pepper because it contains volatile compounds that break down shortly after it’s crushed. You will not get this intense pepper flavor if you use pre-ground black pepper.) Let the aioli sit for a few minutes, as it needs the time for the ingredients to meld. If you don’t feel like waiting it’s fine but trust me even 5 minutes makes a difference here—you’ll get a much better taste.
Cut a few thick slices of tomato, whatever kind you like. If you’ve never had an heirloom yellow tomato, like the one I used, do try one. SO SWEET. Speaking of super-sweet summer tomatoes, sun-gold cherry tomatoes take the cake, which you can find at the farmers’ market or some supermarkets if you’re lucky (see photo at the bottom of this post). Like candy, really. Okay, perhaps that’s a stretch, but you will not believe how scrumptious these little babies are. I pop them into my mouth like other people eat M&M’s. I’m not kidding.
Assemble the sandwich. Cut the bread in half (if you like) and spread with some aioli, then layer on a few arugula or spinach leaves and top with the tomato. Lightly toasting the bread also works really well, for a variation, and the warmth of the toast really brings out the savory flavors of the aioli. To complete the sandwich, garnish with either capers (pictured) or microgreens. If you’ve never had them, microgreens are a fun mix of, well, really tiny greens. They are very pretty and flavorful. Give the sandwich a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a grind of pepper, and take a big bite.
A perfect summer lunch, starring tomatoes.