Now that tomatoes have finally started to ripen, we can make our favorite summer sandwich, the toasted open faced sandwich. You could make them any time of year, but fresh garden tomatoes or equivalent ones from a farmer’s market are best. You want the flavorful kind of tomatoes that are raised locally as opposed to those bred to ship.
In our Connecticut garden, our favorite early tomato is Fourth of July, which was bred from cherry tomatoes. It’s growth habit forms clusters of smallish tomatoes, but way bigger than actual cherry tomatoes. We also find that our paste tomatoes begin to ripen fairly soon thereafter we are growing Amish Paste and Opalka this year. Finally, the Burpee Cloudy Day variety is the first full-sized tomato to ripen: it’s one you can slice for sandwiches. It’s also blight resistant.
If you can slice up a combination of these types to make a few sandwiches, you are ready to make open faced sandwiches. We start by lightly toasting the bread and buttering the toast lightly. Then we lay on the slices of tomatoes, about one layer or so thick.
Then we put on strips of fairly crisp-cooked bacon, and top with slices of sharp cheddar cheese. This order is important. For stability, the tomatoes have to go first, and put putting the bacon under the cheese, you prevent it from burning in the broiler.
The final step is, of course, to slip the open sandwiches under a broiler for a few minutes. This doesn’t take very long, so watch carefully. You want the cheese to melt, but don’t want anything to burn.
Serve immediately. It’s OK to use a knife and fork on these delicious sandwiches.