I am so inspired by different restaurants sometimes, I can’t help but come home and make them myself!
In this case there used to be this Italian place by my work which has since disappeared but they had this awesome lunch special menu. Most of it was salad, pasta or pizza but they had a select list of sandwiches you could order. The first time I saw the list I knew exactly what I was going to order. This is my take on that sandwich – since the restaurant is gone anyways.
I am sure you are familiar with a caprese salad; tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese usually paired with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s one of those simple decadences in the world. Anything is amazing as long as you have the prime produce available. I remember Rachel Ray mentioning that her favorite meal when she stayed in Europe for a time was fresh tomatoes chopped in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. She would get a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery and literally sop up the tomato mixture with the bread. That’s my idea of heaven on earth.
This sandwich became one of my go-to’s. If I had a bad morning at work, I wanted this sandwich. If I had a not so healthy couple of days, I wanted this sandwich. If I just wanted food, I wanted this sandwich. Yeah I ate it a lot, it’s probably a good thing that I decided to make it myself by this point.
I had some huge heirloom tomatoes I found at the farmer’s market and was excited to use them in this kind of recipe. Mostly because I was so excited to eat it! I made this massive sandwich with those tomatoes, topped them with mozzarella cheese, sweet leaves of basil from my garden and a balsamic vinaigrette that had just enough honey to really make the natural sweetness of the tomatoes pop.
So, Bradley and I made this sandwich for dinner one night, but it was huge! We tried our best but still had about half of it. Thankfully my awesome neighbor brought his daughter and her friends over to eat the rest of it up. I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t helped out. I would have been seriously stuffed that’s for sure.
I think this sandwich is a great introduction to tomatoes because it’s so simple but so hearty and fresh tasting. It’s really a quintessential spring type of recipe, perfect for a simple snack or even a getting the family together for a picnic. Ooo, a picnic. I totally forgot I have an awesome picnic basket I got for Christmas and I am now so excited to use! Now to figure out which amazing picnic recipes to share with you.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 large ciabatta bread loaf
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 20 basil leaves
- Whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic powder and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Slice the ciabatta in half to create a top and bottom. Layer sliced tomatoes across the bottom then slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Layer basil leaves over cheese and drizzle generously with balsamic vinaigrette. Place top of bread on top and cut into desired sizes.