Tomato Sandwich Sutra
Can a Tomato take you to Enlightenment?
The tomato than can be had at market
Is not the true Tomato…
— Lao Tze, Taoist Chef
A sutra is a religious text. So how, you may ask, is a tomato sandwich recipe like a holy writ? If you’re asking that question, obviously you have never had one of these sandwiches! Sit down, do some Presencing, meditation, or tantric qigong. You are embarking on a spiritual path of bliss.
I admit it. I am a severe tomato snob. Those pale pink things you get in the market – you have to know in your heart that they are made of polyethylene. Most likely, the same stuff that those carcinogenic water bottles are made of. Perfectly round, hard, devoid of nutrition and taste, one may suspect they have been bio engineered to degrade your spirit and poison your soma. Probably by DuPont or Dow.
A ripe organically grown tomato, on the other hand, is a singular creature of beauty. You can’t even find her in a farmer’s market. A demoiselle both dainty and voluptuous, she does not abide rough handling and long distance travel very well. You have to occasion her acquaintance locally. Forget those faux supermarket sirens that end up being vacuous and unresponsive upon your tongue, a home grown, fresh-faced, tomato-next-door is what your spirit yearns for.
If you’re going to cultivate the dalliance of a real tomato, an old fashioned heirloom is preferred, although hybrids may blossom into a true belle if cherished correctly. Paradoxically, and in contrast to their elutriated temperament, these scarlet seductresses respond best to dark dirt, composted manure, along with deep, even irrigation.
An intelligent courtier of these down-home debs will let them linger far past the point that the brash and impetuous beaus of agribusiness would consider. A whole order of magnitude of succulence can be obtained by waiting. Persevere until she is so full of juice that she literally bursts through the corset of her skin, her zaftig bounty on display for your delectation.
Pick them warm from the sun, effulgent and luscious. Slice them. Thick or thin, it doesn’t really matter, salt them to taste, use potassium salt if sodium is a concern.
Hellmann’s. There can be no other. Many are the pretenders to the throne of this most majestic of condiments, but none can compare. Use the full fat version. You’re worth the extra calories, and the season, alas, is so short.
It may seem ironic that the best bread may be the cheapest. Perchance Ms. Tomato likes to go slumming, or maybe she just prefers a partner who will not attempt to occlude her opulence. She is fragile. A hard crust will rudely crush her, and a dense, overly odorous dough is antagonistic to her spirit. A brutish bread can never be her soul mate, whereas a light, airy bread will both complement and decline to compete with her savor. That most prosaic of blue-collar breads, Safeway Oven Joy Wheat, is a fittingly self-effacing confrere for Ms. Tomato’s sensibilities. Light-hearted and affable, it toasts to crisp perfection while not attempting to rival her royal presence.
A continental quality can be obtained by using a latitudinally sliced baguette. The crust is much too hard of a shell to slice longitudinally, as in the déclassé sub sandwich. Our Hot Tomato does not abide being abused and eclipsed by hard and leathery crusts. Of delicate disposition, she is a true August Leo, desiring to be reverently on display at all times. Sliced thinly in sections and lightly toasted, a home baked baguette can provide just the right amount of physical support and charm for our vine ripened honey. Garnish with some fresh basil for a subtly piquant perfection.
The Mudra of the Sandwich
1. Toast the bread. A baguette should be toasted gently while a light whole wheat should be toasted moderately. After it is done, leave it in the toaster so the residual heat drives out any excess moisture. Remember, albeit light, the bread must also be resolute enough to receive the nectar of this lubricious lady, as any astute escort should be.
2. While the bread is toasting, slice la tomate, fresh picked from the garden and warm from the sun.
3. When the toast is cooled, liberally apply the Hellmann’s, warmed to room temperature. Cover the toast right to the edge with a seriously thick layer, a masonry trowel may be helpful.
4. Carefully arrange layers of juice-filled tomato, salt to taste, cover with another mayo-laden toast, or leave open-faced.
5. Serve forthwith on fine china. Or wolf it down immediately, over the sink.
If this doesn’t bring you present to a state of Spiritual Ecstasy, I doubt anything will. Om Shanti! © 2009 Keith E. Hall & www.inner-tranquility.com All rights reserved.
Nutritional content of one cup of tomatoes, Probably less if store bought, more if homegrown:
Calories 30 Calories from Fat 0
—————————-% Daily Value
Total Fat 0g—————— 0%
Saturated Fat 0g———— 0%
Sodium 15mg —————-0%
Total Carbohydrates 6g—- 2%
Dietary Fiber 1-2g———–4%
Protein 1-2g—————— 2%
Vitamin A ——————– 15%
Vitamin C——————– 50%
Vitamin B-6——————- 6%
Folate ————————– 4%
Vitamin B-12—————— 0%
Vitamin D——————— 60%
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