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08/29/2019 12:01 AM

Have a Party Celebrating Summer’s Bounty

Local tomatoes were a little later than usual this year, thanks, once again, to the unpredictability of New England weather. But once they started to become available late last month, I was ready to celebrate.

I had a group of about a dozen neighbors over for a Make-Your-Own-Tomato Sandwich party. I bought several kinds of bread, put out a bunch of spreads, a variety of tomatoes, various accoutrements, and watched as my guests had fun putting it all together.

The idea came from a feature from several years ago on by Sarah Jampel called “The Be-All-End-All Tomato Sandwich—& 4 Ways We Couldn’t Leave it Alone.” It comes with a chart suggesting different combinations of “carby-creamy-tomatoey-salty.”

I corralled all the ingredients, put them out on the table, posted the guide, and invited everyone to have at it. Sure, some of the guests went old-school classic with white bread, mayo, tomato. And some of them went all “build-me-a-Dagwood” wild. (For those of you who don’t get that reference, Google “Dagwood Sandwich”).

My favorite was an English muffin; a huge slice of a big, juicy orange-hued tomato from Deep Hollow Farm in Chester; a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt; and a generous slather of an herby yogurt I made with thyme, oregano, lemon juice, grated garlic, and lemon zest, all mixed in with cashew yogurt.

Another favorite was anything with roasted tomatoes. I started with some beautiful red tomatoes from Cecarelli Farms in Northford, quartered them, threw them on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cranked the oven to 450 degrees, and roasted them until they were just starting to char, then I turned off the oven and left them in there while the oven cooled down. That resulted in a jammy, caramelized tomato spread. I don’t mind seeds or skins, so I left them on, but you are welcome to remove those first.

We rounded out the buffet table with potluck offerings that included Marc Deaton’s Deviled Crab Dip (the recipe for that can be found here:, shrimp cocktail, a cucumber salad, and more. We also did some grilled corn on the cob, and dessert included chocolate dipped bananas by Deb Rigney, and a fabulous Pavlova from Michele Vejar (the recipe for that is here: (

Make-Your-Own Be-All-End-All

Tomato Sandwich Guide

Adapted from


• White bread

• Fried toast

• Big fat biscuits or English muffins

• French toast

• Naan

• Hellman’s mayonnaise

• Vegenaise

• Ricotta

• Salty butter

• Brown butter mayo *

• Herby yogurt (your choice of yogurt and herbs)

• Beefsteak tomatoes

• Roasted jammy tomatoes

• Heirloom tomatoes

• Blistered cherry tomatoes

• Salt, a couple of kinds

• Caramelized onions

• Fried capers

• Quirky greens

• Pickled Onions *

• Chile flakes

(I recommend Aleppo-style pepper)

• Vegan smoked maple bacon **

(*recipes for brown butter mayo and pickled

onions can be found on

(** vegan smoked maple bacon is available from

Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford)


• Go wild

• Have fun