Tomato Sandwiches: Fresh Takes On A Southern Classic

By Emma Kent // Photos by Lauren Wood 

Everyone says you shouldn’t mess with the classics, but that’s not any fun. If you’re looking to spice up your tomato sandwiches this summer, check out these fresh takes on the Southern classic.

When it starts to get hot and humid and the mosquitoes come out to play, it can only mean one thing in Mississippi: It’s summer. The start of each summer brings the promise of a new crop of fresh, juicy tomatoes off the vine soon to become sandwiches, sauces and salads all season long.

Although I grew up in the South, I had never really had a tomato sandwich, a classic Southern summer staple, until I got married in 2015. The summer after we got married, my husband decided to plant a garden full of tomatoes, squash, zucchini and all kinds of herbs in our yard. This wasn’t a small operation. He went big, and come June and July we had tomatoes coming out of our ears. They covered our countertops, we gave bags of them away to friends and family and we cooked a lot of tomato sauce, but we still had tomatoes to eat.

So, we started eating tomato sandwiches every day for lunch. We usually ate them the classic way: white bread with mayonnaise and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sometimes, though, we had to shake things up with a swipe of pimento cheese or some fresh basil and mozzarella. Sometimes we swapped white bread for something fancier, like French bread, focaccia or sourdough.

The jury is still out on which toppings make the best tomato sandwich, but if I learned one thing that summer, it’s that the possibilities are endless. We’ve since moved to a different house with less room for gardening, so we don’t have our own homegrown tomatoes anymore. But each year when the days get longer, I find myself craving a big, juicy slice of tomato sandwiched between two slices of good ‘ol white bread.

 

The Classic

Ingredients:

2 slices white bread

2-3 slices fresh tomato

Mayonnaise

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Directions: Spread thin layer of mayo onto each slice of bread. Add slices of tomato. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top and drizzle with olive oil. Top with remaining slice of bread.

Tomato Sandwich with Cucumber Cream Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

2 slices white bread

2-3 slices fresh tomato

8 ounces cream cheese

1 large cucumber, diced

¼ cup red onion, diced

2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Thinly chopped chives  

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Combine cream cheese, cucumber, red onion, dill, mint, lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Spread an even layer of the cucumber cream cheese onto one slice of bread. Top with tomato slices, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh chives. Finish with second slice of bread or enjoy as an open-faced sandwich. Refrigerate remaining spread for later use.

Tomato Sandwich with Arugula and Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients:

2-3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

2-3 slices fresh tomato

2 pieces of French bread, sliced lengthways and lightly toasted

½ cup arugula

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Layer ingredients on one piece of french bread, starting with mozzarella, followed by arugula and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and top with remaining slice of bread, if desired.

Spicy Peach Tomato Sandwich

Ingredients:

2-3 slices fresh tomato

2 pieces French bread, sliced lengthways and lightly toasted

Fresh peach, sliced

Fresh mozzarella, torn into large pieces

Handful of fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons mild hot sauce

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

Kosher salt

Directions: Whisk together olive oil, hot sauce, rice vinegar and honey in a small bowl until well combined to make dressing. Layer ingredients on one piece of bread starting with mozzarella followed by peach slices, basil and tomato slices. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with salt to serve. Top with remaining slice of bread, if desired.

 

 

 

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