When I was a child, I wasn’t really “into” sandwiches, with the exception of PB&J. I think the issue was that just about every sandwich I had eaten prior to the age of 16 or 17 was cold. Since biting into my first “hot” sandwich (which I remember being a French dip at Houlihan’s), I have had phases. Obviously, I started with a French dip phase; I transitioned into a reuben phase (this reminds me at some point I should post my recipe for the vegetarian reuben…trust me, it’s better than it sounds). Now I’m into the hot tomato sandwich stage.
And I don’t seem to be alone in this “hot sandwich” phase of life. Panini presses are popping up more and more on my friends’ wedding registries. But they are SO expensive! What’s a “cheap” way to get around this? Ironically, my cheap fix came from Sur La Table (I LOVE this store, but they make Williams Sonoma look like Walmart price-wise). Remember those old-school irons from the early-1900’s? Totally bought myself a $10 one for Christmas (except mine has a wooden handle instead of an iron one, making it less likely that I’ll burn myself). Using this lovely tool and a frying pan, you magically have a panini press.
But I digress…back to the damn sandwich, right? One of my favorite flavor combos at the moment is brie, tomatoes, and fresh ground pepper. It’s even more fantastic when it’s heated and smashed between two slices of bread. If brie is too fancy for your budget (understandable, especially if you’re a grad student like me), then pepperjack cheese and tomatoes also go really well together. If you don’t like tomatoes (which apparently some people don’t), then brie also goes really well with honey.
BRIE AND TOMATO SANDWICHES
- Four slices of fresh bread (obviously, this means I made two sandwiches)
- One medium-to-large tomato, sliced about 1/8 inch.
- Brie–I used about 6 ounces total.
- Fresh ground pepper.
- Pam, or butter.
- Slice your bread if it isn’t already. Slice the tomatoes and slice the brie.
- Heat up a skillet–spray some Pam (or a similar substance) at the bottom of the pan.
- Put two slices of bread down and start toasting them. When the first side is done, flip the bread and immediately place the brie on the now-toasted side.
- As the brie is getting happy and melty, place the tomatoes on top, season with pepper, and then place the final pieces of bread of the very top. Flip carefully, and use your press to (a) get the sandwich down to a size you could actually put in your mouth and (b) start cooking/browning the un-toasted slice of bread.
- When done, eat!