Tomatoes are in season. Ahhh… this is the time of year that I look forward to most after the winter has passed. From December to June, I pester my husband asking, “How long before the tomatoes are ripe?” And, to be honest, ours still aren’t ripe. We grow heirlooms from seed (we’re cheap, and heirloom seeds are designed to be used again and again – see how to save heirloom seeds), and unlike the local plant supply store, our tomatoes are not 15″ tall in January. It’s a lesson in patience, to be sure.
However, this does not mean that we cannot benefit from my friends that DID buy their plants at the plant supply store and that have more tomatoes now than they could ever know what to do with! Mary Peyton delivered 3 pounds of tomatoes to my door on Monday. Here it is Thursday and I haven’t used them yet. For shame, I know.
I first had this sandwich at the local deli. It changed my sandwich eating experience forever. No more Subway or Togos for me. The bar has been set. Ciabatta bread, a vinaigrette made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and optional turkey are enough to make your mouth sing. Add some pesto and you might be the next American Idol.
big tomato sandwich
1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into individual sandwich portions
1-2 large, ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom)
roasted red peppers, sliced (you can buy these in a jar or make your own)
fresh mozarella cheese
sliced turkey (optional)
1 cup homemade pesto (store bought can be used, but it won’t be as good!)
1 tbs fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)*
1 tbs fresh marjoram (or 1 tsp dried)*
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 4 tsp dried)*
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tbs balsamic vinegar (to taste)
Combine spices and garlic in a food processor. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar and blend until mixed.
Spread some of the vinaigrette onto one side of the bread. Spread pesto on the other half. Layer with tomato, cheese, and turkey (if using).
Lastly, grab some napkins because these sandwiches can be juicy!
*Fresh herbs are ALWAYS better, but dried will work in a pinch. I would definitely try to use fresh basil if you can, seeing as how it makes up a good portion of the vinaigrette.