One of my favorite sandwiches of all time is the tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich. It's simple, doesn't require any cooking, and is really really tasty.
Step 1: Ingredients
- ripe tomatoes
- fresh mozzarella (this is the soft stuff in liquid - not the hard kind you put on pizza)
- Italian bread or a baguette
- fresh basil
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
Step 2: Slice the Tomatoes and the Mozzarella, and Chiffonade the Basil
The first step is to start slicing the tomatoes and mozzarella. Cut the mozzarella and the tomatoes at roughly the same thickness - about a 1/4". This is a bit thicker than sandwich shops will cut their tomatoes and mozzarella but since I am making it myself I get to cut it how I like it.
Having a sharp knife really helps cut through a soft ripe tomato. If you push too hard you will crush it, so be careful.
I like to cut basil in a chiffonade - which is a fancy way of creating thing uniform strips out of a bunch of leaves like basil, spinach or lettuce. See my instructable on How to Chiffonade for detailed instructions.
But by all means, cut, rip, or chop the basil up any way you like.
Step 3: Assemble the Sandwich
To assemble the sandwich begin to lay your slices of tomato and mozzarella.
I like to lay the tomato down first in a cascade manner where the top of each tomato rests on the bottom of the one above it. I this ensures total tomato coverage and allows me to stack a few more slices than if I just laid them down flat on the bread.
On top of the tomato goes the mozzarella cheese. Again, I like to use a cascading effect to maximize my cheese to area ratio.
After the cheese comes the basil. I like to add in a pretty liberal amount, so what is pictured below might be a bit more than you might like on your sandwich.
Step 4: Seasonings
The sandwich is finished off with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Put the olive oil and vinegar on first, and then add on the salt and pepper - this way the salt and pepper will stick to the sandwich and wont get "washed away" when you pour on the liquids.
I like the sandwich to be a little wet, which means that it can get a little messy to eat with all the olive oil and vinegar. If your going to be making ahead of time, or need to be able to eat it without making a mess put on less oil and vinegar.
Step 5: Finished Sandwich
Modifications/Improvements to the basic sandwich can include:
- adding your olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to your tomatoes and mozzarella before you assemble the sandwich so that the liquids don't make the bread wet and soggy.
- pre-salting the tomatoes before you assemble once they are sliced. This helps draw some water out of the tomatoes and makes them taste better once the sandwich is assembled.
- toasting the bread if you like a crunchy sandwich.