It's time to talk tomatoes. Last year I planted my first garden and while I harvested mutant oversize zucchini and an abundance of jalapenos, my tomatoes failed miserably. This year I vowed it would be different. And so I took great care in selecting the varieties I would grow and gave them the prime real estate in our small patch of garden out back. I went with my favorites- beefsteak and Romas. And I'm thrilled to say that they're growing! Beautifully. And over the last few weeks I've been enjoying my own fresh juicy home-grown beefsteak tomatoes. (The Romas have yet to ripen.) They might not look like the pristine manicured supermarket type, but they taste far better!
The best way to enjoy a just-picked tomato? Toast a slice of whole wheat bread or bagel, smear it with cream cheese, top with sliced tomato, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. And die of pleasure. Don't have your own tomato patch? The farmers market works too!
I didn't grow the tomatoes featured in this sandwich. But they did come from a local Virginia farm. (Virginia is amazing for locally grown produce in the summer!) Slow-roasted tomatoes are oven-dried until shriveled and chewy on the outside but still moist and juicy in the middle. The flavor concentrates and they become richer and sweeter and explode in your mouth with each bite. Once again, this sandwich was inspired by a favorite Richmond cafe that serves their slow-roasted tomatoes on toasted bread with cucumber, sprouts, and hummus. If you don't have the time or patience for slow-roasting, fresh tomato slices can be substituted for a still-delicious sandwich.
Slow-roasted Tomato, Cucumber, and Hummus Sandwich
whole wheat or multi-grain bread, toasted
red onion, thinly sliced
sproutsslow-roasted tomatoes (recipe below) or tomato, thinly sliced and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
cucumber, thinly sliced
1. Spread hummus over two slices of bread. On one slice layer grated carrots, red onion, sprouts, tomatoes, and cucumber. Top with the second slice of bread and serve.
cherry, grape, or small Roma tomatoes, halved
whole cloves of garlic, unpeeled
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh herbs (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 225 F. Arrange tomato halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to make the tomatoes glisten. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and herbs, if using.
2. Bake in preheated oven for about 3 hours (depending on the size of the tomatoes), until the tomatoes are shriveled and almost dry (with a little juice still left inside). Use right away or cool and store in the refrigerator covered in a little olive oil.
(Sow-roasted tomatoes adapted from Smitten Kitchen)