I love good bread, and the difference between an incredible loaf and a mediocre loaf can be huge in enjoyment and not always so big in the dollar department. Toast is a big thing in our household. We have started to bring loaves of bread home from our time at Hawthorne. It is a way to stay connected to a place that is growing so fond in our hearts. Sliced bread works well in the freezer, keeping for quite some time. It is amazing how making a slice of this bread for toast brings back thoughts & fond memories of our visit. Food can have such strong connections to a place. When we are in Paris, I always like to bring back bread from Poilâne as a reminder of our trip. Sitting and having a salad with croutons made from it just takes me right back to images of meandering around Paris and that incredibly intoxicating aroma inside Poilâne while you are waiting in line to order. Cheers to good bread & good memories!
When I was kid, I was asked to spend a week training at the home (well, really it was more like a large compound) of a rather well known tennis coach. She had seen me playing in a tournament, must have thought I showed some promise, and offered me a week of her coaching. I was on the next plane to Kentucky. She had me hitting tennis balls morning, noon & night–which I loved. I was also a 13 year old who could eat anything that was not nailed down. She had a lovely housekeeper/cook who whipped up amazing treats. It was then that I had grits for the first time, which she served at almost all of the meals. It is also the first time I had a tomato sandwich. She would make them for me each day as a snack. They are, quite simply, one of the easiest, most yummy things to have when tomato season is at it’s peak.
It is a sandwich with only 4 ingredients if you count the sea salt, so it is key that each ingredient be the best you can find. Long Island has several shops that bring in Poilane bread from France, and it always makes my heart flutter when I see those spectacular miches lining the wall of our favorite cheese shop when we are out for the week. Any good sourdough bread will work great for this sandwich. Just lightly toast the bread. This helps to keep the entire concoction from turning into a soggy mess.
Next, and this is where you need to become friends with mayonnaise, you slather a good amount of it on both slices of the just toasted bread. We have lots of friends who get queasy over excess mayo, but it is a must on this. After your first bite, you will understand why. Next, choose the ripest, juiciest tomato you can find. The juices combine with the mayo and make a sort of sauce. Slice the tomato quite thick. I think this is best served as an open faced sandwich. Add 2 slices of the tomato to the bread, side by side.
Next add a generous amount of French sea salt to the tops of the tomatoes. This will help draw out those delicious juices that we are hoping for. Let all sit for a minute or two, then devour. They really are the yummiest darn things. We had them for lunch on the porch yesterday with a glass of rose’ while watching a storm come in over the bay.