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When Life Gives you Tomatoes, Fry ‘Em!

On a recent trip to Florida with my sister, I didn’t eat THE most amazing fried green tomato sandwich. I experienced it. 

In the words of Chef Gusteau (albeit a fictional chef in a Disney story where a rat learns how to cook):

“Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only be aware to stop and savor it.”

Chef Auguste Gusteau
My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Fictional or not, Chef Gusteau was right on the money. And this particular sandwich was very sincerely music inside my mouth, and so much more than just colors that I could smell. Even the way in which the sandwich was assembled. I mean wow! I found myself examining this fine piece of engineering as I tried to not unhinge my jaw and swallow it whole, lol. 

It’s not unusual to have a big sandwich that tastes great but is so unwieldy, it just makes a damn mess. This wasn’t that. Yet it was big and bold and all the things that spelled culinary mess-down. It was truly art of every form that had landed firmly on my plate. I was determined to come home and make my own. 

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The Jersey Tomato

Living in the Mid-Atlantic, there is one vegetable that wears the crown in the Bell house. And that my friends, is the Jersey Tomato. 

I could never quite understand why we were growing tomatoes in our yard in Delaware and then calling them Jersey Tomatoes.  Hey, I was a little string bean at the time. But to this day, any type of home-grown tomato is as much a delicacy in my family as lobster, regardless of what state’s name sake it’s been given.

I grew up eating raw tomatoes, fried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, the tomato sandwich, stuffed tomatoes and of course, homemade tomato sauce…all grown in my in my mom and dad’s garden. Watching my mother and grandmother can our homegrown tomatoes and other vegetables, in a kitchen without air conditioning, wasn’t a chore, it was an event. 

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The Original Tomato Sandwich

In-between being sternly told to stand clear of the stove and the cooling jars under brightly colored tea towels, that could basically explode off the kitchen counter at any moment, lol, we ate raw veggies and of course, fried veggies. Oh Fry-Daddy fry. Those were the days. 

While I wish I could be back in that kitchen, I now channel all those positive cooking vibes in both my land-locked kitchen and my mobile kitchen on wheels. I don’t have a Fry-Daddy but I do have an arsenal of cast-iron and stainless steel pans. And I’ve learned how to use them to fry a tomato for a tomato sandwich that rivals that vat of hot oil.

I’ve come a long way since being just a wee-little taste tester, and I intend to share all of that with you, including the art of slicing a tomato and the history of this gorgeous fire engine red veggie, or…is it a fruit? (all coming soon…)

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

There are SO many directions you can take this glorious sammie. But today I want to share with you my original (and still my favorite) palette for your palate…the Original Bell Family Fried Tomato Sandwich with Parmesan Pesto.

Bon appetit mes amis! (That’s French for good eating my friends;)

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

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The Recipes

CategoryDifficultyBeginner

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and can be adapted to be vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater-worthy, lol. This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold. The key is homegrown Beefsteak or Jersey Tomatoes.

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time20 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time30 mins

 1 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes Slightly Under Ripe
 1 cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs (I prefer Cento brand)
 1 cup Unbleached Flour
 ½ cup Milk (2% or Whole)
 1 Egg
 3 tbsp Olive Oil
 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
 1 cup Parmesan Pesto (See Recipe)

1

Pick your tomatoes!

Gently whisk together egg with milk in a shallow mixing bowl or dish.

Fill one dish with flour. Fill another dish with the breadcrumbs.

After you've prepped your breading area, slice your tomatoes lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

2

Slowly bring your cast iron pan up to medium heat, adding olive oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, dredge your tomato slices in the flour, then the egg mix, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step for all the slices. Set aside until oil and butter in pan has coated the surface evenly.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

3

Add the slices to the pan, gently flipping after 2-3 minutes or a golden crisp. After all breaded slices have been fried, transfer to a dish with paper towel to absorb excess oils.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

4

While tomato slices are cooling, using your pre-heated cast iron pan, lay each brioche slice flat in the pan to toast. After they've reached a golden crisp, transfer onto their serving plates.

Depending on size sandwich desired (single of double decker), layer with fried tomato slice, parmesan pesto sauce, greens (I use baby spinach), another tomato slice, some more parmesan pesto sauce, then top with slice of brioche.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Ingredients

 1 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes Slightly Under Ripe
 1 cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs (I prefer Cento brand)
 1 cup Unbleached Flour
 ½ cup Milk (2% or Whole)
 1 Egg
 3 tbsp Olive Oil
 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
 1 cup Parmesan Pesto (See Recipe)

Directions

1

Pick your tomatoes!

Gently whisk together egg with milk in a shallow mixing bowl or dish.

Fill one dish with flour. Fill another dish with the breadcrumbs.

After you've prepped your breading area, slice your tomatoes lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

2

Slowly bring your cast iron pan up to medium heat, adding olive oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, dredge your tomato slices in the flour, then the egg mix, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step for all the slices. Set aside until oil and butter in pan has coated the surface evenly.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

3

Add the slices to the pan, gently flipping after 2-3 minutes or a golden crisp. After all breaded slices have been fried, transfer to a dish with paper towel to absorb excess oils.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

4

While tomato slices are cooling, using your pre-heated cast iron pan, lay each brioche slice flat in the pan to toast. After they've reached a golden crisp, transfer onto their serving plates.

Depending on size sandwich desired (single of double decker), layer with fried tomato slice, parmesan pesto sauce, greens (I use baby spinach), another tomato slice, some more parmesan pesto sauce, then top with slice of brioche.

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The Original Bell Family Fried Tomato Sandwich with Parmesan Pesto

Pesto is so multi-versatile and not one has to goto waste. I love to use my Parmesan Pesto as a spread on my Bell Family Fried Tomato Sandwich and in my ground beef mix for burgers. It's great with or without the garlic and pine nuts!

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time10 minsTotal Time10 mins

 ½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
 1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
 ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
 1 tbsp McCormick Italian Seasoning Grinder Spice
 1 dash Granulated Sugar

1

Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Top with a layer of olive oil to prevent browning. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill.

I love pesto, with or without garlic. This particular recipe does not include the traditional pine nuts or garlic cloves. But by all means, add them to taste;)

2

Using a food processor that won't blow a circuit in your Airstream or RV, pulse cheese, garlic and Italian seasoning for about 1 minute. Add basil leaves and place the top back on. Then with the food processor still running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth for another minute. Add a dash or two of the sugar. Pulse for another 30 seconds and voila. Spread it, dip it, love it!

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Need an immersion blender for your Airstream???

I know it's a little pricey, but as you know, you can't have all the conveniences of your home kitchen out on the road. This handheld and CORDLESS blender is the answer to whiskey, whipping and blending up sauces, dips and desserts. 

 

Ingredients

 ½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
 1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
 ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
 1 tbsp McCormick Italian Seasoning Grinder Spice
 1 dash Granulated Sugar

Directions

1

Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Top with a layer of olive oil to prevent browning. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill.

I love pesto, with or without garlic. This particular recipe does not include the traditional pine nuts or garlic cloves. But by all means, add them to taste;)

2

Using a food processor that won't blow a circuit in your Airstream or RV, pulse cheese, garlic and Italian seasoning for about 1 minute. Add basil leaves and place the top back on. Then with the food processor still running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth for another minute. Add a dash or two of the sugar. Pulse for another 30 seconds and voila. Spread it, dip it, love it!

My Tomato Sandwich Recipe is gloriously simple and arguably the original zucchini pizza and so easy! This Summer Cast Iron treat can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Parmesan Pesto Sauce