If you read my Pasta with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs post, you know all about my lifelong obsession with tomatoes. What I didn’t share with you is the first recipe I ever concocted as a little girl in Wisconsin. In the summer, I would take a slice of white bread (cough, Wonder Bread), slather it with mayonnaise, and layer thick, juicy tomato slices with a healthy sprinkle of salt. That delicious combination brings me back to those warm summer days in Kenosha.
I’m still obsessed with that simple sandwich, but now I use quality ingredients. Oh, and on the Wonder Bread, cut me a break, people. It was the early 80s, and I hadn’t yet moved to the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley, California.
Feeling out of place is a classic symptom of being 14, but once I moved to Berkeley, I knew I was out of place. I missed Wisconsin terribly, and I had trouble making friends. I dreaded Mr. Brush’s drama class because it fell just before lunch. The end of class meant I had to face the courtyard at lunch with nowhere to sit. It was awful.
When I learned you could go off campus for lunch, I felt saved. I walked with purpose up to Shattuck Avenue as if I had a pressing appointment. As it turns out, I did. Downtown Berkeley introduced me to new foods and taught me the importance of simple but good ingredients. When I recall tasting my first potsticker, lunching on fresh baguettes and special cheese, or even having frozen yogurt for the first time, I relive the moments in my life when I fell madly in love with food.
Lunch is still an important part of my day. I’m usually at home working but don’t want to give up the opportunity to indulge in something delicious. I keep simple, seasonal ingredients at home that create beautiful lunches. Just because I can’t go out to eat doesn’t mean I can’t have something wonderful. My Tomato Burrata Tartine is a great example of a perfect summer lunch. This tartine is insanely addictive, bursting with flavor, and will have you obsessively hunting down the very best tomatoes you can find.
- tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 2 balls burrata
- bread, thickly sliced
- fresh basil leaves, torn
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Toast slices of bread.
- Spread desired amount of burrata on bread.
- Layer tomato slices.
- Add basil leaves.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Season with kosher salt and pepper.