The Classic Tomato Sandwich

Thursday 4 August 2022

The Classic Tomato Sandwich

What I am sharing today is not a recipe per se.  I am sure you don't really need a recipe for a tomato sandwich, and we all probably have our own ideas of what is the best tomato sandwich recipe.

I think my mother was the Queen of Tomato Sandwiches.  I believe she had a tomato sandwich for her lunch almost every day of her life.  She loved them and it is a love I very much share, however I probably would not have one every day for lunch.


The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

To my way of thinking you need only very simple things to make a great classic tomato sandwich!  Basically only 4, and if you make sure those are the best, then you are in for a real treat.

Good soft white bread.  That is the first thing.  You don't need anything fancy. No sour dough, or brioches, etc. Just good old plain soft white bread.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich

Some people swear by mayonnaise and that is surely an excellent choice. Myself, I love miracle whip on my tomato sandwiches.  Its a personal preference really.  I think miracle whip is slightly sweeter and it goes really well with tomatoes.  In my opinion it brings out the best in a tomato.

I also like a nice fresh crisp lettuce on my sandwich, although certainly I have enjoyed tomato sandwiches without lettuce as well. For me it has to be simple, crisp, plain, old fashioned iceberg lettuce. 

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

And finally you need a nice big fat ripe fresh tomato.  I think beefsteak tomatoes make the best tomato sandwiches, but, having said that, I have been known to enjoy a tomato sandwich made with just about any fresh tomato.

Mom always kept her tomatoes on the counter top (before she cut into them).  There was always one or two fresh tomatoes ripening on the counter top. Tomatoes are one fruit (and yes they are a fruit, not a vegetable) that continues to ripen at room temperature.

If you keep your tomatoes on the counter top when you bring them home from the shops, you will find that their flavor improves immensely after a day or so.  

I think that they pick tomatoes just short of their prime so that they have a longer shelf life, and then they keep them really cold so that they stay that way. Leaving them on the counter for a day or so, improves their taste and texture greatly.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

There is really only one way to make this sandwich. You can butter your bread or not, as you wish. I choose to butter because my tomatoes are usually really ripe and that helps to prevent the sandwich from being soggy.

You don't need a lot of butter, just a light covering. 

Onto that I place a hefty schmear of Miracle Whip or mayonnaise.   Only on the tomato side, but you can do both if you want to. I like to taste my spread and so I do spread it on rather thickly.  I probably use about 2 tablespoons.  (Don't judge me.)

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

Onto the plain buttered side, I layer the lettuce. I like to leave the lettuce in nice crinkly leaves.  And I am not stingy with it either. I use a fair amount of lettuce. 

On the miracle whip/mayo side I layer the tomatoes.  I like to cut the slices of tomato fairly thin and use a lot of them, layering them on top of each other haphazardly.  I like to cover all of the spread with a nice layer of ripe tomatoes.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

Finally I season the tomatoes with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of freshly ground sea salt. I love the pure flavor of sea salt.  Call me a salt snob. I like sea salt.

And I have my favorites there as well. Maldon is my clear cut favorite. And I like it flaked.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich

Once you have both slices of your bread loaded you can slam them together.  Here is when you will be glad that you buttered the lettuce side because your lettuce will hold in place and not slip and slide all over the place.

Press the bread down a tiny bit to make everything stick together.  Don't smash it. Just press it down gently.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

Its up to you whether you choose to cut it in half or not. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. It all depends on how juicy the tomatoes are and how generous I have been with the miracle whip/mayonnaise.

If your tomatoes are really juicy you probably want to keep it all in one piece so that it isn't too overly messy. I like to enjoy my sandwich, not wear it.  And, unfortunately, tomatoes can stain.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

When I first moved over to the UK, I worked in a Care Home. I did some hours cleaning and I was also a kitchen assistant. This was while I was taking my college training as a Chef.   There I learned to love cheese and tomato sandwiches.

I had never heard of a cheese and tomato sandwich before. It was, to me at any rate, an unusual combination.

But it was another, no bells and whistles needed, delicious simple sandwich.  Buttered bread. Thinly sliced seasoned tomato, and freshly grated medium cheddar cheese.   Delicious!  Which reminds me I haven't had one of those in a while either.

The British love their sandwiches and they do sandwiches really well. So well that they have shops that are dedicated to just producing and selling them, and spots in the chiller cabinets of all their other shops dedicated to just sandwiches.

The Classic Tomato Sandwich 

Maybe tomorrow. Today I am enjoying my classic, simple, delicious tomato sandwich. Every single mouthful.  Oh how I love the summer months when we can enjoy an abundance of freshly grown local tomatoes.  

They do have a huge edge flavorwise against their nursery farmed counterparts.

One final word. The best tomatoes I have ever eaten in my life were from the Isle of Wight in the UK.  I used to get a box of them delivered to me every couple of weeks from a place called The Tomato Stall.  They were absolutely lovely.  Was I ever spoiled! 

When it comes to home delivery of food the UK really does it well.  I could get just about everything (Quality meats, cheeses, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, etc.) delivered right to my door, and quite affordably too. I miss that. 

Isle of Wight Tomatoes

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  1. It's Judee from Gluten Free A-Z blog. .. OMG does this sandwich bring back memories from my youth. We lived in NJ where summer tomatoes were large and ripe. Whenever we wanted a snack, we made a delicious tomato sandwich, just like yours!!

    1. Hi Judee! Its the simple things in life which bring us the most pleasure right? Thank you! xo

  2. I love them toasted with just loads of basil leave and a little mayo. (And bacon is good, too!)

    1. Oh yes, a classic BLT is one of the nicest things. Have you tried basil mayo? Thanks Jeanie! xoxo


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