I suppose this recipe will sound like I didn’t try hard, but I did. I really did.
I wracked my brain for a tomato recipe worthy of Jihva for Tomatoes, and at
RP’s My Workshop no less! I will spare you the agony of my thought process.
I thought and thought, and then I remembered that RP mentioned something about
posting simple recipes and how she was not going to be worrying about that. Fabulous! Freed from my own rules, I felt able to post the first and best thing
I could think of: a tomato sandwich.
When I was growing up, my grandmother always had a fantastic garden.
On the Cape, the sea air lends something to the soil — good things seem to simply sprout up where planted. If we were visting in spring, we were allowed to help with the weeding and the watering. Then came summertime, which meant a month-long visit at least. We kids played in half of her big backyard rimmed with brambles — blackberries and raspberries, with the garden taking up the other half. We played badminton, baseball, kickball, you name it. All those summer afternoons nana would sit in her lawn chair watching. Whenever a ball or birdie went astray and a child ran after it, she would jump up from her chair to retrieve the offending toy — all in order to save her precious plantings. In later years when she wasn’t so nimble, she would direct us between the rows of green, calling “out of the garden”. She did this in such a sing-song voice that I can still hear her tone now, thirty-plus years on.
When the games were over, we scrambled through the brambles — braving the prickers to pick blackberries which were then proffered to nana with blue-stained fingers and lots of love. In return we received simple and delicious fare from her well-worn and equally loving hands.
Tomato sandwiches were one such pleasure.
Later, as the sky grew dark, we would run barefooted over the lawn, chasing fireflies. And if any of us were so lucky as to catch one, nana always had a jar ready. We could place the firefly gently into that jar and watch it — maybe for half an hour, before nana would have us release it. She was a wise woman — having us set that small creature free to fire up our childhood dreams.
Eventually, my uncle took over the garden. Sadly, they are all three no more — garden, uncle, and nana. But the singsong call remains, “out of the garden”, and just a short drive away, my mom still has her own vegetable patch with juicy, succulent garden-fresh tomatoes every year.
This recipe is simple and can be enjoyed anytime, but to fully appreciate it, try it in the summer with a fresh, garden tomato — just picked and still warm from the sun.
Simple Summer Sandwich
Choose the freshest, ripest tomato you can find. Rinse it off, and slice into medium-thick rounds. If you don’t mind tomato juice on your hands, leave the rounds whole. If you want a neater sandwich, cut them in half.
Take two slices of fresh, soft white bread. Storebought Canadian White style is my favorite. Homemade bread is great too. You could use wheat or some other whole grain, of course, but this sandwich of my childhood memories is all about indulgence so I use white bread and real mayo.
Real mayo in this case means Hellman’s — or for anyone west of the Mississippi, Best Foods brand.
Lay out your fresh white bread (preferably on a paper plate) and give each slice a thin veil of real mayo. Lay on the sliced tomatoes. Put the two halves together. Cut into quarters — triangles are the most fun.
Carry your plate outdoors if you can.
Gobble it up and lick your fingers — napkins are for grownups.
Thanks RP, for hosting Jihva and for reminding me of this wonderful treat from those sunny summertime days ‘down the Cape’.