The Best Summer Food: Tomato Sandwiches

This summer recipe (okay, let’s call it what it is, a “recipe”–scare quotes and all) is quite possibly the flagship food of summer. It beats out caprese salads, corn on the cob, hot dogs, popsicles, and root beer floats in terms of sheer ease of making and total deliciousness. It’s the perfect lunch (or breakfast or dinner or midnight snack) for those days where it’s so hot that you barely have an appetite, and the thought of doing anything that could be filed under the category “cooking” makes you want to hop straight into the refrigerator and stay there till autumn.

Yes, this is the ultimate low-maintanance recipe. If you can listlessly wield a knife, you can make this sandwich. Of course, tomato sandwiches have often been the starting point for many variations: grilled cheese with tomatoes, tomato and hummus concoctions, tomato-basil sandwiches, BLTs, avocado-tomato vegan concoctions, and so forth. And all of those sandwiches are amazing, but it doesn’t get better than this simple classic.

Part of what makes tomato sandwiches so appealing right now is that summer is the only possible time to eat them. Unless you live in a warm-all-year farmer’s paradise, off-season tomatoes aren’t even worth speaking about. Only in July and August can you find tomatoes that are succulently red all the way through, bursting with ripeness, and in all sorts of crazy colors (yellow, orange, purple, and mottled red). Tomatoes (technically a fruit–a berry, in fact) are famous for their antioxidant content, especially the high amount of lycopene, which is vital for bone health. Their phytonutrient count is “off the chart,” according to World’s Healthiest Foods, and they’ve long been praised for their role in heart health.

As far as the other ingredients in this sandwich, quality is key. With such a simple recipe, every ingredient gets a chance to shine–or flop. Translation: get the good bread.

One Perfect Tomato Sandwich

  • Two slices good bread
  • One perfectly ripe tomato
  • Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

Toast the bread. Spread each half with a thin layer of Hellman’s mayonnaise. With a serrated knife, cut the tomato in thick, even slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

You know what to do.

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