Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gourmet "Southern Tomato Sandwich" Crostini with Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli, Bacon Fat Fried Toast, Rainbow Heirloom Tomatoes, Brown Butter, & Fresh Chives

Gourmet "Southern Tomato Sandwich" Crostini with Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli,
Bacon Fat Fried Toast, Heirloom Tomatoes, & Brown Butter
Almost every story I have ever heard from my mom or dad has either started or ended with a classic tomato sandwich being eaten. To be honest, I never really got it. All you true deep south southerners are probably shakin' y'all's heads in disdain... I know, I know, please shame me. I deserve it. But, what could be so delicious about a piece of white bread, slathered with store-bought mayo, tomatoes, and some pepper? Now, to each their own, certainly, but there is a significant room for growth and I took that challenge on. Some of y'all will hate me for it and the others will love it, just give it a listen. Okay? First, you gotta throw that overly soft bread, that should only be used for a kid's PB&J sandwich, out the window. That is not allowed to be used. I made my favorite, extra-crusty, super-chewy bread... sliced it thick and fried it in bacon fat. I mean, c'mon people, that already sounds so much better. Now don't get me wrong, I tend to reach for Duke's Mayo on occasion, just for pure time-saving matters, but if you really want to make a sandwich taste better, you have to make it from scratch. There's no way around it. The number one rule, as proposed by my family, is the heavy use of fresh cracked pepper. So, I just incorporated it into my super garlicy, homemade aioli (and I mean a whole lot of it, so feel free to reduce it somewhat if you need too). Next is by far the most crucial part in my book... finding the ripest, juiciest, most colorful heirloom tomatoes that you can find. They are the only kind I buy and if you haven't had one, then you are truly missing out. Their texture is overly tender, no slimy starchiness here, and they are as sweet as can be! And just by adding a small pinch of salt + pepper (with a splash of vinegar), it turns into one of my favorite quick, Summer meals. HEIRLOOM TOMATOES MUST NOT & CAN NOT BE OMITTED (glad I got that out there, it is so very important). After you have layered all of the ingredients, drizzle a little bit of brown butter over the top, and garnish with minced chives. Now I get that this sammich ain't normal or classic by any means, but this updated version will be a go-to lunch this summer when the heirloom tomatoes are bountiful. And wouldn't they just be the cutest as mini crostini for a summer dinner party? I think soooooooo!! Enjoy :)
Here is one that is plain, but the brown butter and fresh chives are crucial!

For the Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli:
1 Egg Yolk
1 ½t Fresh Lemon Juice
1t White Wine Vinegar
¼t Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste (with a little sea salt)
½t Sea salt (plus a little more to taste, if needed)
¼t Sugar
¾C Canola Oil
1-2t Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

For the “Southern Tomato Sandwich” Crostini:
Thick Slices of Country Bread (I used my favorite recipe for bread)
Rendered Bacon Fat, For Frying
Prepared Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli
Heirloom Tomatoes, Sliced & Seasoned Lightly with Sea Salt
Brown Butter, Melted (for drizzling)
Fresh Minced Chives

1. For the Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli: Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, and ½t salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Using ¼t measuring spoon and whisking constantly, add ¼C canola oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add remaining ½C canola oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8-10 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color). Season the mayo with the fresh cracked black pepper and a little sugar to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.  
2. For the Bacon Fat Fried Toast: Heat about 1 inch of rendered bacon fat in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the slices of bread in the oil until golden brown & crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Once the bread is done, immediately remove them from the oil and slightly drain them on paper towels to get rid of excess oil. Place them onto a serving plate.
3. For the Crostini: Spread the bacon fat fried toast with a thick layer of the Homemade Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Aioli. Top the aioli with slices of seasoned heirloom tomatoes, and then drizzle tops of the tomatoes with some brown butter. Garnish with some fresh parsley, basil, or chives.
4. Enjoy immediately!

Oh and now for some Heirloom Tomato food porn...

How amazing do those look? My mouth is watering as I type. 


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