While we're on the topic of favorite sandwiches — here's mine. A hot, gooey, toasted, juicy mozzarella and tomato sandwich.
This sandwich just bursts with flavor, and yet it is so simple. It reminds me vividly of the summer I spent in northern Italy, wandering through city streets and stopping in student cafés for a sandwich and a tall, cold glass of fizzy water. The water cleansed my palate and let the vibrant flavors of fresh, scarlet tomatoes explode in my mouth. The hot cheese, gooey between slices of crisp toasted bread, stretched out in long strings between bites. The taste and texture of this sandwich is one of my favorite memories from traveling — and it is still probably my favorite lunch.
This sandwich is so simple it hardly needs explaining, but here, for the record, is how I make my tomato and mozzarella sandwiches. Do you ever make these? If you've never had one, now is the time; tomatoes are in high season! I used a fresh Black Krim tomato (so sweet, so juicy!) from my garden, and some very fresh mozzarella, packed in water.
Tomato Mozzarella Sandwich
2 slices bread
1/4 small tomato, sliced
4 thin slices mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 clove garlic (optional)
4 leaves fresh basil (optional)
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Place 1 piece of bread in the skillet. Lay two pieces of mozzarella cheese on top of the bread. Lay the tomato slices on top of the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the rest of the cheese on top of the tomato and top with the second piece of bread.
Check the bottom of the bread; if it is looking golden, flip the sandwich. Place a cast iron skillet on top of the flipped sandwich and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to finish melting the cheese and toasting the bread.
Option: Rub both pieces of bread with the cut half of a clove of garlic before assembling the sandwich.
Option: Add a few leaves of basil in the center of the sandwich with the tomato.
(Images: Faith Durand)