I got a new cookbook this past Memorial Day, Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. I’ve been waiting for summer tomatoes to arrive in full force and flavor so that I could put together “A Big Tomato Sandwich.” Since it does call for cheese, this week’s Whip It UP theme, I decided to go for it. I modified very lightly.

1 large loaf ciabatta
Herb Vinaigrette, below
1 or more big ripe, juicy tomatoes (I used Caspian Pink & a less sweet hierloom that I don’t remember the name of), sliced
1 medium sweet bell pepper, roasted & peeled, sliced
4 oz of a favorite cheese (Daley Dairy’s Colby), sliced
Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Slice the top off the loaf. I didn’t need to scoop any bread out as my loaf was flat, but if your loaf is thick, you can. Spoon about half the dressing over cut sides of the bread. Layer tomatoes, peppers, then cheese, adding dressing after each layer. Season and add top. Press down & slice as desired.

Herb Vinaigrette
1/4 C fresh basil
1 T marjoram
1 T parsley
1 clove garlic
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
4 T red wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste

Mince herbage and garlic. Stir in oil and seasoning.

Initial impression-“Holy Sh!t”…I actually said that out loud after the first bite. It was that good.
Ingredients- When the recipe is this simple the ingredients really shine, or they don’t, and you have a crappy sandwich. If you aren’t a gardener, a friend of a gardener, or a farmers market shopper, you might not like this one. I got the tomatoes from the market, the basil and cheese from my CSA, and the pepper, garlic, and other herbs from my garden. I also made the bread and the vinegar. I know that’s not practical for everyone.
Technique- I put a casserole dish on top of this to press it down because I like my sandwiches compressed. I also let it hang out long enough to let the cheese come to room temp and the flavors meld before slicing
Last impression- A little messy, but so good. I might try to get the bread a touch crustier next time or make it a day in advance. That dressing could go on pasta, potatoes, etc. Or you could add egg for killer mayo on a cold sandwich. You could deconstruct the whole thing into a salad with ciabatta croutons. You could add greens, onion, olives, etc.
Was the recipe easy to follow?
Yes. It had a little weirdness where sometimes prep was listed in the ingredient list and sometimes it was listed in the recipe and often it was repeated in both, but it just required a double take here and there.
Did the dish taste good?
See above. Yes!
Would you make it again?
Yes, and with many variations for the heck of it!