Skip to main content

Your Summer Needs These Three Tomato Sandwiches

Any tomato can star in a sandwich—if you know how to play to its strengths.
By Published May 18, 2022

Summer’s most iconic sandwich—voluptuous tomato slices heaped between slices of toasted, mayo-slicked white bread—seems a straightforward, simple pleasure. But don’t let its modest appearance fool you. This juicy, drippy stack actually pulls off a delicate culinary balancing act: The bread offers crunch that contrasts with the tomato’s softness; the richness of the mayo complements the acidity of the fruit; and the brilliant red slices at the center of it all are at once juicy, sweet, tart, meaty, and savory. 

Achieving this tomato sandwich harmony is an effortless feat when you’ve got lush, toast-of-the-farmers’-market tomatoes. However, there’s no need to spend the whole summer holding out for those flawless fruits. At this time of the year, many tomato varieties have sandwich potential—some just need a little boost to achieve that perfect balance of crunch; richness; and bright, fruity acidity.

Here, vine-ripened tomatoes get an infusion of juicy tang from a vinegar marinade, petite cherry tomatoes become concentrated and tender after a stint under the broiler, and even peak-season field tomatoes are enhanced with seasonings that make their flavors pop. By pairing each with strategically chosen breads and other complementary ingredients, you’ll expand your tomato sandwich repertoire—which means you can snack on sandwiches no matter what kind you have on hand.

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

Field and Heirloom Tomatoes: Griddled Tomato Sandwiches


THE TOMATO TREATMENT: A simple sprinkle of salt, sugar, pepper, and acidic cream of tartar

THE BREAD: Sliced, griddled sandwich bread

THE EXTRAS: A rich swath of mayonnaise


This sandwich needs no introduction: There are no better companions for a juicy heap of peak-season field tomato slices than white sandwich bread and a swath of mayonnaise. Here, we've perfected the classic by enhancing the tomatoes' flavor with a simple sprinkle of salt, sugar, pepper, and cream of tartar (an acidic ingredient that boosts brightness). The sandwich bread is griddled on one side, adding delicate, but lingering exterior crunch while preserving the soft, moist interior.

Vine-Ripened Tomatoes: Marinated Tomato Sandwiches


THE TOMATO TREATMENT: A seasoned sriracha-vinegar marinade

THE BREAD: A toasted, craggy English muffin

THE EXTRAS: Rich avocado, earthy alfalfa sprouts, and peppery watercress


The major perk of vine-ripes? They're evenly sized, which means they make neat stacks (no tomato slippage here). They also have balanced flavor and are moderately juicy, playing well with bolder ingredients.

To tenderize these tomatoes and punch up their mild flavor, all that's needed is a brief steep in a seasoned vinegar-sriracha marinade. Stacking the marinaded slices on craggy, toasted English muffins helps to catch any excess juices, and mashed avocado provides some richness to contrast with the tomatoes' tang. Finally, a layer of earthy alfalfa sprouts further prevented the layers of tomato from slipping. You've never made a tomato sandwich this neat—or this vibrant.

Cherry Tomatoes: Open-Faced Cherry Tomato Ricotta Sandwiches


THE TOMATO TREATMENT: An 8-10 minute broil

THE BREAD: Thick slabs of rustic bread

THE EXTRAS: A honey-mustard-miso dressing and a layer of ricotta


Cherry tomatoes might not be the first variety you reach for when you're in the mood for a tomato sandwich—but they shouldn't be overlooked. These petite spheres are standouts after a stint under the broiler: In the high heat, their acidity, sweetness, and meaty texture concentrates, and they collapse, allowing them to fit snugly atop a thick slab of rustic bread. A honey-mustard-miso dressing punches up the tomatoes' flavor even further, and a bed of milky ricotta completes the open-faced sandwich, providing a rich contrast to the cherries' brightness.

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.