TOASTY TOMATO & PESTO SANDWICHES

TOASTY TOMATO PESTO SANDWICH

TOASTY TOMATO PESTO SANDWICH

After picking my first tomato of the season, I wanted to make the most of this tempting treat. So I came up with an amazing sandwich:  a toasted focaccia bun topped with melted provolone cheese, slathered with pesto, and a fat slice of my precious tomato.

I’m a firm believer in cooking from scratch – it not only saves big bucks, but it empowers you to choose what goes in your body. So, of course, I made the pesto and focaccia myself.

However, I understand not everyone shares my passion as a diehard DIY-er. So you can simply purchase the pesto and focaccia and STILL have a great tasting sandwich.

As a glass half full kind of gal, I’ve included recipes for the pesto and focaccia, along with the sandwich directions, in my optimism that some of you will give them a try.

TOASTY TOMATO PESTO SANDWICH – makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

  • thick tomato slice (preferably home grown or from a farmer’s market)
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp. pesto (recipe follows below)
  • 2 slices provolone (or whatever cheese you prefer)
  • focaccia bun (recipe follows below)

Directions:

  1. Slice the focaccia in half horizontally and toast it.
  2. Lay the cheese on bottom half and zap in the microwave for 15 seconds or so to melt the cheese.
  3. Slather on pesto.
  4. Add the tomato.
  5. Place the top half of the roll.

Now open wide and enjoy the feast!!!

PESTO – makes 1 cup

  • 2½ cups (4 oz) basil, packed
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2½ T lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree. You’re going to need to start and stop the blender a lot in the beginning in order to mix things around by hand.  WARNING:  Do NOT push down with any utensil while machine is running. Been there, done that. Turn machine off before mixing things up! Pretty soon everything will blend on its own.

FOCACCIA BREAD – makes 5 buns

  • 1 cup water, 100º-104º Fahrenheit
  • 1¼ tsp yeast
  • 1½ cups white bread flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • coarse salt in grinder for top of bun
  • extra olive oil for soufflé dishes

Proof yeast in water.

Into the work bowl of food processor put all of the white flour, 1 cup of the whole wheat flour, the olive oil, salt, and sage. Turn on machine and slowly stream in the yeast water through the pour spout. Add the remaining wheat flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a firm ball. Let the machine run 45 seconds more to knead the dough. (If you don’t own a food processor, you’ll have to do this by hand. As you undertake this task, think about buying a food processor!)

Plop dough into an oiled bowl, then flip dough and place back in bowl. Now both sides are oiled. Cover with tea towel and let rise 1 hour.

Cut dough into 5 pieces. If you have 4¼” individual soufflé dishes (see photo) use them – you’ll need 5.

IMG_1318

The buns will turn out nice and rounded. If you don’t have soufflé dishes, just use a well oiled cookie sheet. As you can see from the photos, the soufflé dishes turn out prettier focaccia buns – but they taste the same!

BAKED IN SOUFFLE DISH VS FREE FORM

BAKED IN SOUFFLE DISH VS FREE FORM

Pour about 1½ tsp olive oil into each soufflé dish. One by one, take a piece of the dough and work it into a 4″ disk, smooth on one side. Place the smooth side down into the oiled dish, and press. Flip dough and press down again, so the dough fills the dish bottom – try not to mar the smooth surface. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.

Using a finger with a short fingernail (or the stick end of a wooden spoon), make several deep indentations in dough. Brush with a little olive oil (not absolutely necessary to do this), and grind sea salt over top.

Bake in preheated 400º Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from soufflé dishes to a wire rack to cool.

 

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