Nothing more aptly symbolizes summer to me than fresh, locally grown tomatoes. They have a sweet, slightly tangy flavor that no trucked-in grocery store tomato can match. Each summer I make myself a pledge not to let the flavors of this summer slip by before fall is upon us. I am determined to savor all of the fleeting summer flavors while they are still abundantly in season. This means lots of trips to the farmers markets and stops at roadside stands for produce.
Throughout the summer I am on the hunt for recipes that pull together as many fresh flavors as possible. Rather than relying on meats and cheeses to dominate the taste buds, I want perfectly ripe produce to punch the palate with flavor.
A few years back, while looking for picnic friendly recipes I stumbled on the idea of a marinated tomato sandwich. It sounded wonderful. Ripe tomatoes, the sharp tang of vinegar, the creaminess of avocado; the minimal cooking involved makes this sandwich the perfect showcase for summer’s flavors. This is also one instance where the final product is better in practice than in theory. Since first making this sandwich a few years ago for a nice riverside picnic, I have been in love with its vibrant flavors. I have re-made this sandwich every summer, as sort of an annual tradition.
If you are looking to capture the flavors of summer in a sandwich, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Eat it while you can because you will never get the same explosion of flavor from a winter tomato.
As the recipe states, you can use sliced red onion on this sandwich, but it is infinitely better if you take the time to whip up a batch of my pickled red onions. Their tanginess fits in perfectly with the marinated tomatoes and plays nicely against the creaminess of the avocado. It really adds a nice touch to an already great sandwich.
Gourmet BLT with Avocado and Arugula
- Crusty French Bread
- In season beefsteak tomato cut thick
- 2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic minced
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
- ¼ Avocado per sandwich sliced
- Pickled red onion to taste thinly sliced (can substitute rinsed non-pickled red onion)
- 2 in strips of cooked Bacon per sandwich cut half
- cup ¼ scant Arugula per sandwich
- In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegars, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Thickly cut the tomato in ½” slices. If you do not wish to pickle the onion, you can place the onion slices in the container with the tomatoes and drizzle over dressing. Let this marinade for at least two hours, periodically re-spooning the mixture over the top.
- Toast bread and brush with marinade. Top with tomato, sprinkle with salt and pepper then add onion, bacon, arugula and avocado.
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