Get on it ASAP.
Open-Faced Tomato Sandwiches with Creamy Cucumber Spread
Credit: Alison Miksch

It’s July, which means the year’s best tomatoes have finally started to show their bulbous heads. These perfectly in-season tomatoes are the only large tomatoes worth eating raw, in my opinion. And while you could simply slice, salt, and snack, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to go the extra mile and make a tomato sandwich (or five).

Get the recipe: Open-Faced Tomato Sandwiches with Creamy Cucumber Spread

Though it’s hard to know exactly where tomato sandwiches originated, they’re heavily celebrated in the South, where most people will inform you that the only permissible spread is Duke’s Mayo. But if you can’t find Duke’s, go with your favorite brand of mayo—the ultimate goal here is to harness the best possible flavors on one sandwich.

And I know, through the screen I could hear some of you screech, “MAYO!!??!” Though I understand your aversion, I maintain that mayo-haters are wrong when it comes to tomatoes. Even if you never slather any other sandwich with the spread, it just works on a tomato sandwich. Please try it?

Watch: Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Salad

No? Fine. That’s why I wrote three recipes for tomato sandwiches, and only one of them (the Classic) uses mayonnaise. The second one, Ranch Tomato Toast, calls for a lemony Greek yogurt spread on your bread. The third, an Open-Faced BELAT (you’ll see) has no spread at all. The bread is simply fried in bacon fat or butter, but only on just one side, so you can bite it more easily, and rubbed with garlic before you pile on the toppings.

Classic Tomato Sandwich
Serves 1

2 slices country, whole-grain, or white bread
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 medium beefsteak or heirloom tomato, thinly sliced (you may have extras)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It
Lightly toast the bread or leave it as is, then spread both sides with mayonnaise. Lay 3 slices of tomato around the bread in a sort of venn-diagram fashion. Liberally season the tomato with salt and pepper (do the same to any leftover tomato slices for snacking). Close the sandwich and devour.

Ranch Tomato Toast
Serves 2

2 medium beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried dill
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 slices country or sourdough bread; or 2 servings flatbread like pita or naan
Flaky sea salt
Freshly chopped dill and parsley

How to Make It
Slice the tomatoes about ¼-inch thick and place on a sheet pan or large plate in a single layer. Sprinkle evenly with garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate garlic into a small bowl. Whisk in yogurt and lemon juice. Season with salt.

Toast bread or flatbread in a toaster, pan, or oven; let cool slightly. Spread liberally with yogurt mixture, then layer on seasoned tomatoes, and top with flaky sea salt and herbs. Save any leftover tomatoes for snacking.

Open-Faced BELAT
Serves 4
Note: If you’re omitting the bacon, fry the bread in a mixture of 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil instead of the bacon fat.

4 eggs, at room temperature
6 slices bacon
4 slices white, country or sourdough bread
1-2 cloves garlic
Little Gem or Butter lettuce leaves, sliced or gently torn into 2-inch pieces
2 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt

How to Make It
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium high heat. Gently lower the eggs into the pot and boil for 7 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a nonstick or cast iron skillet until crisp. Once cool, crumble it into large pieces.

Fry bread in the pan with the bacon drippings on one side. (Or fry the bread in butter/olive oil on one side.) Rub each slice on the toasted side with garlic cloves.

Peel the eggs and cut each one into quarters lengthwise. Gently smash a few slices of avocado over each piece of toast, then layer each slice of bread evenly with lettuce. Nestle in tomato, crumbled bacon, and 1 egg per toast. Top with flaky sea salt.