Looking forward to those fantastic heirloom tomatoes this summer? I am. My Grilled Cheddar and Heirloom Tomato Sandwich is a great way to enjoy the classic grilled cheese sandwich paired with a few slices of fresh ripe tomato at its best.
My maternal grandfather used to grow heirloom tomatoes in his garden every single summer that I remember. Grandpap lived to his mid-90s, as did his father. Nothing tasted better than Grandpap’s summer garden tomatoes, warm from the sunshine, sliced on a plate with just a sprinkling of salt and nothing else.
Grandpap’s heirloom tomatoes were a mainstay on the summer dinner table. Today, we purchase ours from a local farmer’s market or at our local Whole Foods Market.
We are blessed with more shade than sun on our property, although I do have some tomatoes growing on my partly sunny back deck this year. Just hope that I get to enjoy my tomatoes before the squirrels decide to take a nibble.
My favorite cheddar cheese is Tillamook. Use your favorite cheddar, or try slices of Monterey Jack, Havarti, Colby, or regular American cheese. Just as long as it’s melty, you will have a fantastic sandwich to enjoy.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Grilled Cheddar and Heirloom Tomato Sandwich
1/4 c melted butter
4 slices of your favorite sliced bread (I use a nice firm whole wheat bread)
6 slices of your favorite cheddar cheese (you can add a bit of shredded smoked cheddar sparingly)
4 large slices of heirloom tomatoes (sliced as big as the bread)
1. Heat griddle or skillet over very low heat.
2. Melt 1/4 c butter. Brush one side of each slice of bread with the butter, and place each, open-face and butter-side-down on griddle or in skillet on very low heat.
3. For each open-face slice of bread, place 1.5 cheese slices on the side of bread that is facing up on the griddle. Let the cheese warm and soften for a few minutes.
4. Add a slice of heirloom tomato on top of the cheese on each slice of bread.
5. Let the bread toast a bit and when cheese is melted and the tomato slices are warmed, carefully turn one open-face bread slice over onto the second slice, ensuring the tomato slice stays in place with a spatula. Repeat for second sandwich.
6. Grill slowly over low heat while the cheese melts, the tomatoes are warm, and the bread is a nice toasty brown.
7. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve.
Serves 2. Serve with a cup of my Tomato Basil Soup or Hearty Vegetable Soup as a fulfilling lunch. It might take a bit longer for this sandwich to cook — but it’s worth the time to completely melt the cheese and warm the tomato — so watch your griddle or pan’s temperature.
Variations: Use a different melty cheese such as Monterey Jack, Havarti, Colby or regular American. Add some fresh arugula leaves before grilling for a spicy flavor. Add some mustard or mayonnaise to the interior of the sandwich before adding the cheese before grilling. Add a few strips of crispy bacon between the cheese and tomato slices. Some guests may not like the watery tomato that will run out of the sandwich, so you can also seed the tomato before cooking. Or make open face sandwiches: After the open face sandwiches’ cheese has melted and the tomato slices are warm, add a bit of shredded cheese on top of the tomatoes and melt under the broiler.
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