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The Perfect Tomato Sandwich: A Summer Classic

The Southern tomato sandwich represents the simplicity and resourcefulness of rural farming areas – where the weather is warm and tomatoes are plentiful.

a plate of tomato sandwiches

Photo: Helen Kopp

If you’re looking for ways to use up the last of the summer tomatoes, you have endless options. But one of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes is also one of the simplest – tomato sandwiches!

Tomatoes and bread certainly aren’t a concept unique to the southeastern United States. I mean, Italians have bruschetta, Mexicans have tortillas and salsa, and so on.

But the Southern tomato sandwich, like its foreign counterparts, represents simplicity and resourcefulness characteristic of rural farming areas – where the weather is warm, the tomatoes are plentiful… and money is not always.

a detail of a tomato sandwich

Photo: Helen Kopp

The Southern tomato sandwich consists of three ingredients: tomatoes, sandwich bread, and mayonnaise. And it’s delicious, just like that.

But these days, we can’t leave well enough alone! And after all, while the tomato sandwich holds its own, I think it deserves elevating once in a while for parties or just because it looks pretty. It deserves celebrating!

Here’s a simple idea for how to make the tomato sandwich just a little fancier. Just be sure to assemble right before serving, otherwise the bread will get soggy.

How-To: Make Tomato Sandwiches

1. Flavor the mayonnaise. Below is a simple recipe for Smokey Mayonnaise – but you don’t need a recipe; you can get creative and come up with your own version!

Smokey Mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Vegannaise)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • squeeze of lemon juice from one wedge
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic (oven-roasted, for creamy texture and mild flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley and/or cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Puree all ingredients in blender or food processor.

2. Spread mayonnaise on sliced bread, then place tomato slices on the bread.

3. Use cookie cutters to create pretty shaped sandwiches.

Enjoy!

Helen Kopp

Helen Kopp is a writer and triathlete living in Atlanta, Georgia. She majored in English and Spanish at the University of Georgia. Her favorite things are art, food, language, running, and the ocean. Helen grew up on a small farm in rural Georgia, where she developed her appreciation for whole plant foods and simplicity. She loves sharing the healthy side of Southern cuisine with friends and family, and through her blog Why I Consume Art.

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  • http://www.make-sandwiches.com MakeSandwiches

    Very nicely done, tomato sandwich making is a fine art, it is very easy to make something too soggy and mushy. I tried your recipe and it turned out great, thanks a lot!

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