We all have fond childhood memories that connect with food. The experiences we had cooking with our moms, our fathers, our families – are so special. My great memories involve gardening, harvesting, and cooking with my grandmother Alberta. During the summer months she and I were quite a pair. She constructed days of adventure and learning and I ate everything up. The great thing about my summers was something that I didn’t even realize until years later – we were creating traditions. One tradition, and I’m certain it isn’t unique to us, were luscious, warm-from-the-sun open-faced tomato sandwiches…
Her tomato patch seemed to be constantly bursting with beefy, bright red beauties that needed little adornment to be fully appreciated. She was a baker and I vividly remember the smell of abnormally thick slices of home-made bread toasting in the kitchen, to be topped with mayonnaise, slices of tomato, salt and pepper. We enjoyed these sandwiches around the table in the kitchen, yards from the garden that the tomatoes were picked from. This was the stuff of great memories and new personal tradition.
Now that I have my own house with my own garden, I carry the tradition on with my family. Having my young nephews next door gives me the chance – hopefully – to pass the traditions I shared with my grandmother onto them. I cherish that opportunity, and feel connection not only with them but with my past as I prepare our meal. We’ll share it around the kitchen table, yards from the garden that the tomatoes, still warm from the sun, were picked in. It will be perfect.
Check out this gallery on the easy process of making these beautiful open faced tomato sandwiches. Ingredients and instructions are below the gallery!
Open Faced Tomato Sandwiches Ingredients
Crusty Bread, sliced into thick slabs, toasted
Good Bacon, cooked to your liking
Fresh Tomatoes, sliced into thick rounds
Maldon or other Sea Salt, Fresh Pepper
In a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine ½ cup mayonnaise, a handful of fresh basil leaves, a clove of garlic, and a dash of olive oil. Work the ingredients together to combine and emulsify; the basil should color the mayonnaise a beautiful green color, and the clove of garlic should be completely broken down.
Take the toasted bread and slather it with the basil mayonnaise. Top with a few slices of bacon, slabs of tomato, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
~ Jonathan Dye