Friends don’t let friends get through summer without trying a quintessential tomato sandwich for grownups. This southern staple is a summer eating requirement (right up there with corn-on-the-cob and root beer floats)!
What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Despite the name, you probably won’t find heirloom tomatoes at an antique store, or in grandma’s attic. The tomatoes themselves are not dusty fruits passed down from generation to generation, like old high school trophies and pocket watches. The tomato seeds though? Yeah, those are.
The seeds are what make an heirloom tomato an heirloom tomato. They are passed down from season to season, taken by the farmers from the tomato plants that produced the best fruit. This process allows farmers to select for certain desirable traits like juiciness, size, shape, or color. No weird science-y genetic modifications.
I love heirloom tomatoes for their idiosyncratic qualities. They often have have colors, textures, sizes, and flavors that vary from species to species, in the same way that apple varieties do.
Critical Ingredients for the Quintessential Tomato Sandwich
This “recipe” only uses a couple of curated ingredients so it’s critical that they are top quality. I would never eat this sandwich in the winter with less-than-stellar tomatoes. It’s all about using the freshest ingredients and not messing with perfection. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh heirloom tomatoes ideally from your garden or your local farmer’s market. Never ever put your tomatoes in the fridge!
- Bread – I prefer sourdough but I’ll settle for whole wheat although I know the purists swear by white bread. Toast or don’t toast. You’re the boss.
- Mayo – I usually use a healthy mayo like Primal Kitchen but nothing tastes better on a tomato sandwich or BLT than Duke’s Mayonnaise – don’t judge!
- Salt and pepper
- Basil – add a few basil leaves if you’re feeling fancy
It’s traditional to use two pieces of bread (thus the “sandwich” but I also enjoy these open faced. Bonus points for letting the tomato juice drip down your chin.