When I moved to Chicago in 2005, long-time Chicagoans warned me that during the winter, gray clouds take over the sky and remain there basically until April, as if a giant lid covers the city. There are a few day-to-day exceptions, but on the whole, this means that from December to the end of March, the city looks grayish and wrung-out, drained of color. Then in April, sunshine begins again in earnest and the buildings, tree trunks, barren branches and even the street signs shine. The whole landscape looks different.
Biting into the first homegrown tomatoes of the season is like that. When you taste a tomato that is locally grown and picked ripe, suddenly flavor explodes. You’d almost forgotten that so much flavor exists!
When that first locally-ripened tomato hits your palate, it’s time to celebrate and to start working tomatoes into many a meal. There are so many possibilities! Tomato spinach pasta! Summer salsa! Tomato pie! Caprese salad! And so many other flavorful tomato favorites.
This week, I was craving a recipe that would really make the first local tomatoes of the season stand out. To me, that meant I needed to make a tomato sandwich. This recipe creates an open-face sandwich, which draws even more attention to the tomato. The chimichurri gives this sandwich quite a pop… one that blends nicely with the fresh tomato taste.
- 4 slices wheat bread
- 1 medium onion, quartered and roasted or sauteed
- 1 large sliced tomato
- 8 ounce package baby bello mushrooms
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup chopped basil
- ¼ cup chimichurri
- 4 teaspoons olive oil mayonnaise
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute mushrooms in olive oil for 4-5 minutes. Add broth, salt and pepper and boil until only a teaspoon or so of liquid remains.
- Spread mayonnaise and chimichurri on 4 slices of bread and top with tomato, onions and mushrooms.
- Fry eggs how you like them and top the sandwich with the egg and a sprinkling of basil.
The first local tomatoes of the year brighten up every recipe you add them to, and this recipe puts them to a particularly zingy and satisfying use.
* * *