Tomato Sandwiches

The fall growing season is at it’s peak, and despite the near-freezing overnight temperatures my tomatoes are somehow still popping out juicy red orbs every other day. For my first real vegetable patch, I’d say I did pretty well.

Perhaps my favorite way to enjoy these succulent garden jewels was Mediterranean style: raw with little olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh lemon. The deep, tart flavor of the tomatoes intensified with the rich oil and the spicy pepper. It became a staple for my office lunch box. Every day for at least a week in September I would slather two slices of whole grain toast with goat cheese and top them with these marinated tomatoes. My tiny gray cubicle was momentarily transformed into a lush Tuscan garden and I couldn’t wait to go home and harvest for of my delicious Roma tomatoes!

As the season progressed and more ruby orbs ripened in the yard, my mother came to realize that one of her coworkers also grew a lot of tomatoes…only hers were bright yellow! And one more week later, my aunt handed us a bag of fresh green tomatoes from her garden too! Now this was just absurd. So deliciously absurd!

A fraction of the tomatoes, from the garden and gifts

A fraction of the tomatoes, from the garden and gifts

I began to dream up all sorts of ways to incorporate this colorful bounty into my sandwiches, appreciating the variety that arises from just one vegetable in one region of this vast world. But I wanted to make sure of two things: 1) I keep the tomatoes raw to appreciate their natural unadulterated flavor, and 2) I keep these sandwiches relatively healthy, and free of too much processed food (what’s the point of having fresh tomatoes if everything else was created in a lab?).

For best results I liked to marinate the tomatoes in whatever dressing I was using (balsamic vinegar, pesto, olive oil, etc). Put the tomatoes in a sandwich bag, and spread the cheese or hummus or mayo on the bread in advance. It makes for easy and quick assembly, leaving you more time to enjoy your lunch break!

Here are a just a few of the recipes I came up with.

1. Sunny Day: Cream cheese, yellow tomatoes, red onion, lemon juice

best enjoyed outside

best enjoyed outside

2. Caprese: Goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, tomatoes, fresh basil
photo 3

3. Go Green: Pesto, light Swiss, yellow tomato (I would have added avocados, but they’re not in season!)
photo 4

4. Red Hot: Hummus, Roma tomatoes, olive oil, black pepper, crushed red pepper
photo 1

These are just a few of the infinite ways to enjoy fresh home-grown tomatoes. What’s your favorite way to eat yours?


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