How would summer afternoon tea be complete without a beautiful fresh tomato sandwich with a little basil? Add a little garlic vinaigrette and you really are in heaven.....
I do think it is important to buy very good quality tomatoes. If you grow your own, or can buy home-grown ones, this is really the best. I generally don't bother with tomatoes when they are out of season. I don't think they taste so good. However, if you buy them on the vine and add plenty of basil, they are a good option for children in particular.
I think these sandwiches are great in either brown or white bread, and I usually wait and see what the proportion looks like with the other sandwiches before I decide when doing a full afternoon spread. I always make these sandwiches last, since they go soggy quite quickly and need to be eaten fairly soon after making.
Some people recommend skinning tomatoes for sandwiches. I do not. I think the freshness of thinly sliced tomatoes with their skin on is unsurpassed.
I often make them with a French dressing rather than butter. This way, you can get all those flavours in the sandwich easily. My mum makes the best French dressing in the world. I always put a little dressing in my tomato sandwiches - sometimes in addition to the butter.
Time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 small sandwiches
2 slices of brown or white bread
butter and/or French dressing
2-3 basil leaves
salt and pepper
One fun way of presenting them is in squares with cucumber sandwiches also cut in squares with white bread, and then laid out like a chess board.
Otherwise, they are lovely just piled up on a plate with other sandwiches. Of course, I would always keep vegetarian sandwiches on a separate plate from meat fillings if I had a vegetarian friend coming along for tea.
These pretty little open sandwiches are made with buckwheat bread, which is suitable for gluten free visitors. We simply stamped out circles of bread (which needs to be cut thickly - in this case just over 1cm. Then they are spread with cream cheese and topped with tomatoes, salad dressing, salt and some shredded basil leaves.
The main thing to remember here is that the bread needs to be firm enough that it doesn't collapse when you pick it up. Small circles are best and thicker bread. A good sourdough would be great under tomatoes too....
The possibilities are endless..... :)
For a reasonably filling afternoon snack, I love cheese and pickle sandwiches with tomato sandwiches. I love this combination with Earl Grey. Or with smoky Lapsang.
We often have them with apple and cupcakes for an afternoon snack. Sencha green tea is also a great accompaniment.
In the late summer, I can't resist a plate of tomato and basil sandwiches on their own in the afternoon with refreshing mint tea.