A Big Tomato Sandwich

From Local Flavors, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. I haven’t made anything bad from it yet, and I’ve been using it for years now. Seriously, I recommend this cookbook to everybody who tries to live eating somewhat seasonally and locally.

From the cookbook:

Taking the feast or famine approach, we live on tomato sandwiches from the moment tomatoes appear in the market to the first killing frost. Then none until next year. Crusty, strong-textured ciabatta is the ideal bread. The holes drink in the juice, but the bread is strong enough that it won’t fall apart. Tomatoes of choice are brandywines, striped germans, carmelo, and costoluto genovese.

1 large (1-lb) loaf ciabatta
Herb vinaigrette, below
2 or more big, ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and quartered
4 oz fresh mozzarella, goat, or other favorite cheese, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Slice the top third off the loaf of bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside. (You can use it to make bread crumbs.)
2. Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper, and cheese. Bathe each layer with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the top, press down, then cut into quarters or sixths. This packs well if wrapped tightly.

Herb Vinaigrette
1/4 c basil leaves
1 T chopped marjoram
1 T chopped parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 C EVOO
4 t aged red wine vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the herbs with the garlic, then add the olive oil. Add the vinegar and 1/4 t salt and season with pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

My comments: This is very forgiving of improvization. I use different herbs all the time, depending on what I can find, and usually use less EVOO and more vinegar (and sometimes balsalmic instead of “aged red wine”). Sometimes I use a freshly-roasted pepper, sometimes jarred roasted peppers, sometimes no peppers at all. I often chop the peppers just to make biting easier. Oh, and I tend to use a bigger bread, more tomatoes of different varieties, etc, to make it really big because everybody likes it AND wants leftovers. It is SO pretty and SO tasty.

Categories: Adventures in the Kitchen, Favorites, Summer Fare


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