Many have railed against the at-times unnecessary, yet ubiquitous inclusion of tomato in the sandwich field. In fact, I noted in my first posting here that the unskilled sandwich maker will view tomato as much a requirement of a “true sandwich” as bread. Today, I am pleased to present an example from the opposite end of the spectrum.
The daily special at the Whole Foods sandwich counter was the Avocado Al Fresco sandwich. Olive oil, arugula, tomato, avocado, parmesan, salt and pepper, to which I added bacon and selected a sweet pretzel roll to hold it all together.
As the sandwich was being constructed, I noticed that the Whole Foods employee took pains to build the sandwich in a specific way: oil on both sides of the sliced roll, two thick tomato slices, halved into semicircles and laid down as the “ground floor” atop which was tipped the salt and pepper, and so on. It was a sandwich constructed in a deliberate way. Whether it was due to Quality Control, or because of the demands of the sandwich itself, I cannot say. But I will say this: sandwich construction is important, particularly when building at home, and a careless hand often leads to a sandwich with neither adequate soul nor taste.
The sweet pretzel roll was outstanding, the perfect mix of firmness and lightness that lent itself to the bacon and avocado. The bacon-avocado marriage is something that cannot be denied; salty and creamy, chewy and smooth. But what really held it together were those four pieces of tomato. The perfect ripeness, the perfect thickness. Not mushy, watery, or inundated with seeds, as so many sandwich tomatoes are. They offered a spectacularly satisfying texture and gave the sandwich heft. The parmesan did not add anything noticeable to the experience, but the rest of the sandwich was so pleasing that this can hardly be considered a complaint.
The tomato has not worn out its welcome.