I always love the beginning of tomato season. Usually appearing in early June, tomatoes seem to make their way into the markets just when I need them most. After months of root vegetables and hearty leafy greens, juicy tomatoes announce with gusto that summer has arrived. And once they do appear on the scene, they make their way into everything. Salads, soups, sauces – you name it.
Now, to come clean. By August, I have usually exhausted all my creative thinking around tomatoes. But that doesn’t keep me from bringing them home. With all the amazing heirloom varietals out there (over 500 at last count), I am easily drawn into my next tomato experiment. Recently, we had a couple tomatoes at the Loft in need of an idea. Steph suggested and open-faced sandwich. Not a sandwich person generally, I decided to give it a try. Nothing fancy. A simple pesto, a fresh loaf bread, a bit of gruyere cheese (a permanent fixture in my fridge). With not much work, we had ourselves a delicious, easy-to-make lunch.
So, thanks to Steph, I have one more tomato idea in my back pocket. A tasty one too. One that I will certainly be trying again between now and October, when tomatoes disappear until spring.
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
3 cups basil leaves (loosely packed)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2 medium garlic cloves
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan reggiano
pinch of salt
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
6 ounces gruyere, shaved
6 slices rustic whole wheat bread
freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well blended.
- Cover one side of each slice of bread with the pesto. Top with the tomato & pepper. Add the cheese last.
- Arrange the sandwiches on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the cheese has melted and started to brown. About 10 minutes.
* Great additions might be avocado or caramelized onions. Maybe add sprouts or arugula after removing the sandwiches from the oven to give them a little green crunch.