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tomato sandwich
Photo: Crystl on Flickr

You may not remember the favorite (and only) lunch of elementary school literary heroine Harriet the Spy, but I do. Reading it to my little cousin last night (much to her dismay; she wanted to watch Spongebob), I re-discovered that Harriet wished for nothing more than white bread, tomato, mayonnaise and to be left to her enterprises. Did she want pastrami? (“Tomato.”) How about cream cheese and olive? (“Tomato.”) And, just as I’d predicted, my cousin was asleep in no time.

You may not remember the hard, pink, watery paperweights that call themselves winter tomatoes, but I do. And so, inspired by babysitting and yesterday’s farmers market (two very manly things), we bring you the tomato sandwich. This is no rabbit food. Thick slices of summer tomatoes at the peak of their seasonality and ripeness are meaty, tender, juicy, and packed with flavor — everything you’d want from, say, a really great French dip, but without the looming threat of involuntary nap afterward. The only truly perfect accoutrements to this sandwich are a sprinkle of sea salt and a generous smear of mayonnaise on both sides (you do make your own, don’t you?) The mayo serves as a barrier between the bread and tomato to keep the juices from getting the bread soggy. A feat of engineering, right?