Tomato Sandwich, My Way

July 21, 2014

Here is my favorite tomato “sandwich” which I make in a bread pan to serve eight. The recipe could not be simpler to make and it is a refreshing lunch on a hot summer’s day. Granted I only do this when my beefsteak tomatoes are ripe for the picking. The recipe is versatile too because you could add layers of mozzarella cheese to make it a “caprese” or how about some crisp bacon strips for an added crunch. Use a combination of tomatoes like yellow, green zebra and red if you like. It’s a winner no matter what.

1/2 cup Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon finely minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 large clove garlic, finely minced

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a jar, shake well and set aside. The dressing can be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

Fresh whole basil leaves, stemmed, washed, and dried and left whole
5 lengthwise 1/4 -inch-thick bread slices cut from a 1-pound-4-ounce loaf white bread
1 large (about 4 ounces) Backyard Farms red beefsteak tomato, cut into thin rounds
1 large (about 4 ounces) yellow beefsteak tomato, cut into thin rounds

To prepare the filling and assemble the salad, make a design with a few of the basil leaves in the bottom of the mold. Save the rest to place between the layers.

Trim the bread slices to fit neatly in the bread pan (about 7 1/2 x 4 inches if using the called-for bread pan). Place one of the bread slices over the arugula in the bottom of the bread pan. Brush the bread with some of the dressing. Make a layer of red tomato slices over the bread. Cut up a few slices to fill in any gaps along the sides. Brush the tomatoes with a little of the dressing. Place a layer of basil leaves over the tomatoes and brush them with a little of the dressing. Lay a second bread slice over the basil leaves and repeat brushing with the dressing. Add a layer of the yellow tomatoes, filling in any gaps with pieces of cut tomatoes and brush them with the dressing. Add another layer of basil leaves and brush with a little of the dressing. Continue to make three more layers in the same manner, ending with a bread layer. Brush the top of the bread with any remaining dressing.

Cover the pan tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and bring the overhanging edges over the top. Press on the loaf with your hand to make sure the loaf is compacted and even with the top edges of the pan. Refrigerate the loaf for several hours.

Unwrap the top of the loaf and place a platter over the top and invert the loaf onto the platter. Remove the plastic wrap and discard it. Use a tomato knife to cut the loaf into slices. Serve immediately.

Tip: A tomato knife has a serrated blade that cuts tomatoes without tearing them. Tomato knives are available from kitchen and cutlery stores.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA – BRINGING ITALY HOME by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin’s Press

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