Monday, July 20, 2009
In search of the perfect tomatoes for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich
Saturday morning we woke up dreaming of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch made with the finest, freshest tomatoes we could find. We decided to go to downtown to the Farmers Market and see if they had some heirloom tomatoes, preferable Cherokee Purples, for our sandwich.
Every Saturday morning farmers, potters, artists, weavers and gardeners gather in downtown Murphy in the mountains of western North Carolina to sell their wares. It’s always a festive affair with balloons, kids waving posters in the street advertising a car wash, and this week the Marines were having a fundraiser. This is a typical small town in America on Saturday morning.
Our mission was to find tomatoes for lunch so our first stop was the organic food booth of Frances and Stephen of Candy Mountain Farms. They have gorgeous fresh produce and know their stuff when it comes to gardening. In fact Frances teaches an organic gardening class at the John F. Campbell Folk School in nearby Brasstown.
I could taste the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich we would soon be enjoying for lunch as we purchased a couple of heirloom, dark ruby colored Cherokee purple tomatoes, a head of bright green Bibb lettuce with dew still clinging to its leaves and a bunch of just cut sweet basil from Frances. While at their booth my husband visited with a another gentleman who was selling juicy red tomatoes fresh from his garden, so we bought a few of his to supplement the small yellow Golden Jubilees we had picked earlier from our own garden. A trio of colorful red, purple and yellow tomatoes sounded perfect for our sandwich.
We can’t go to the Farmers Market without stopping by two of our other favorite booths to say hello. In small towns all across American such as this, everyone knows just about everyone. Our first stop after the tomatoes was The Secret Garden, a weaver who has gorgeous handmade scarves and shawls along with other goodies, such as a teddy bear looking very handsome wearing one of her beautiful sweaters. I mentioned how much I enjoy wearing the golden yellow shawl I purchased from her last year while my husband bought a bag of her fragrant lavender potpourri. We admired others handy work as we strolled over to say hi to Roy and see his pottery. I would love to have one of his dark red rectangular bakers, which would be perfect for lasagna.
There’s nothing that says summer more than a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich and a recipe isn’t required.
What is required is to use the very finest of ingredients and sit back and enjoy the results as the tomato juice runs down your chin as you take your first bite. We cooked thick applewood smoked bacon and made basil mayonnaise by mixing best quality mayonnaise such as Hellmann's with chopped fresh sweet basil, a dash of fresh lemon juice and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. This is not the time to use low-fat or inexpensive mayo. Remember, we said the very finest ingredients possible. Often we use sourdough toast for these sandwiches, but today we chose fat Kaiser rolls that we buttered and grilled.
Small town living doesn’t get any better than this on a beautiful Saturday morning in the mountains of North Carolina.