The Divine Tomato Sandwich With “Homemade” Mayonnaise (shhh… they’ll never know)

It’s summer’s end and if we’re lucky our farm stands and gardens are full of tomatoes so ripe and full you can slit them with your fingernail. I defy you to tell me what’s better than one of those tomatoes sliced warm from the garden on two pieces of white bread with homemade mayonnaise and salt and pepper. I’ll give you a minute…

You can’t.

Garrison Keillor once said, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.” Which can only mean he has never had a tomato sandwich as described above.

Bee Cottage Tomato
My first ripe tomato at Bee Cottage, circa July 17.

Preacher (aka rector of St Mark’s-in-the-Valley in Los Olivos, Ca.) has pursued food themes lately in his sermons. Spiritual food, food we take for granted, food we grow, that kind of thing. “Can you hear the voice of God in that tomato?” he asked the other day. He meant it to be funny, but I turned to Pete (short for Patricia and I need to ask her about that) and said “of course you can.” I can’t even believe he asked because honey if God isn’t in a ripe homegrown tomato, I don’t know where She is. The goodness and juicy-sweet-saltyness of a ripe homegrown tomato is proof of the Divine if ever there was.

Homemade mayonnaise is also key, but I am too lazy to make it when I can fake it just as well. This also skips the whole raw egg thing, which is a concern to some.

"Homemade" Mayonnaise
These amounts are mere suggestions. Start here and adjust to your preference for consistency, tanginess and spice. I prefer Hellman's, but if you are from Virginia they put you in jail if you don't use Duke's. Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find.
  1. 2 cups prepared mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  5. 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  1. Whisk ingredients together and adjust to taste. Try not to eat half of it with a spoon like I do because that is disgusting but you can't help it. Put in a plain Ball jar with your own label so it looks like the real thing.
Frances Schultz
Now, and this is kinda serious, as much as I roll my eyes about “health food” and all that, I’ve read the book Wheat Belly and decided to go gluten-free whenever possible. You can read about it on the Wheat Belly blog if you’re interested but I won’t go into it here. I do feel better and have lost a little weight. His Grace has, too. But what I’m getting at is the prospect of eating a tomato sandwich on anything other than real bread is borderline sacrilege.

Tomato Sandwich - Before
Tomato Sandwich - Before

To my surprise and delight, the gluten-free flatbread they make at East Hampton Gourmet Food has taken me somewhere new, made with rice and seeds and garlic and spices, delish. And the tomato sandwich, mmmmwanh! To wit:

Tomato Sandwich - After
Tomato Sandwich - After

My mother would give me a recipe she considered perfect, which went without saying. Knowing my rebellious tendencies she would always add, “And don’t mess with it.” I would anyway, and she’d be right. I’m older and wiser now.

Some people fancy up a tomato sandwich with basil and such. Me I don’t mess with it.

Be sweet and have a great holiday weekend. See you next week.


    1. Louise, I knew this would create controversy. It is a hazard of the trade. Maybe she won’t read it today. 😉 Thank you for writing. xox

  1. Frances
    I had the best tomatoes ever from the wonderful Osage Vegetable stand in Dillard Ga last week! You know the one on the way from Atlanta to Highlands NC. We had a tomato sandwich almost everyday in the mountains. I told my grown children that the only way to make it better was if we had my Mama Ruth’s homemade mayo. Thanks so much for instructions. Promise not to change it.
    Happy Labor Day !

    1. Thank you Becky, and yes I do know that vegetable stand and am jealous of you! But note that this particular recipe IS one you can mess with… Happy Labor Day to you, too, F

  2. You are sooo cute and funny….the Cherokee purples that we get at the Cashier’s Farmer’s Market are the best in the world.!!..even at about $5.00 a tomato.

  3. My mouth is watering, drooling (ask Molly about that!)…they are the very best summer has to offer, sublime. And I love the homemade (wink wink) mayo! Now, I just need to hire a tomato whisperer to make it happen in the garden…
    PS I think Preacher appreciates our laughter in church don’t you?
    xo Pete

  4. I agree on the tomato fresh off the vine. Best taste in the universe. I make my own mayo which contains fresh garlic, lemon juice and dijon mustard and I bake my own bread. This is the perfect fresh tomato sandwich. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh thank YOU, Chef Steve, and man you mayonnaise sure sounds good. If you want to share it we are all ears (and whisks). Frances

  5. Hi- thanks for your kind comment. Be sure to stop by again – I’ve been blogging about Veranda and Southern Accents, etc. for the past five years, so I am thrilled you visited.

    Joni Webb
    cote de texas

  6. Loved this post. I would like to add that unless the sandwich drips down your arm, it hasn’t been made properly!

  7. Girl, love me a ‘mater sandwich. Just was @ Raleigh Farmers Market & got some killer tomatoes. Tis the the season for standing over the sink & letting the juices drip down the drain. I so would have wiped up that last bit of mayo on your plate. No mozzarella, basil & tomato for me either. Great post!

  8. I grew up on Hellman’s with brief flirtations with Duke’s, but for the Lord’s sake don’t evah spread my tomato sandwich with Miracle Whip….THAT’s where the line is drawn!

    1. Hazel I agree! I was just talking to our cowboy Wyatt about maybe borrowing some mayonnaise. (We have some pretty deep conversations around here.) And he told me he had Miracle Whip. I nearly fainted. Your post comes at an especially opportune time, and I am sure he will thank you for it. Clearly he needs serious rehabilitation…

  9. Frances, What timing! I just purchased tomatoes from Tenn., yesterday, at a wonderful little market I discovered in So. Tampa….Guess what I’m having for lunch!? THX for the homemade mayo recipe. Dianne

  10. Sadly here in north Florida our tomatoes are finished; i was able to grow some heirlooms this summer with all the rain we have had; and my Sioux’s came out on top! Somehow i missed the stand in Dillard two weeks ago, will have to look for it next time. We did enjoy the supper at the Dillard House!

  11. Dee-lish! I too have been enjoying tomato sandwiches this Summer…one of the highlights of the season! I will try your mayonnaise and gluten-free bread…enhancements, I am sure. Love, love, love all of your blogs! xxx

  12. Frances, bless his heart, he can’t help it! Your cowboy, as some people in eastern North Carolina would say, …is from “off”.

    1. Yes and sometimes he is peculiar. But I’m telling you if her weren’t here the whole place and all of us with it would go to pieces in about 12 minutes. Bless his heart.

  13. OML(oh my lordy) !!! U r wonderful. My husband is Italian and only did tomatoes withl basil and mozzarella and virgin olive oil- till we moved from San Francisco to Ala damn Bama!!! several years ago. Now my third season of growing tomatoes he has converted!!! (hope Preacher sees that). Your mayo receipe has only added delight to his snack. Thank you for always sharing and creating new traditions we enjoy. Enjoy Labor day weekend and do we have to stop wearing white now?!? Elizabeth

    1. Elizabeth! YOU are wonderful! This is so funny, and I’m so glad your EYEtalian has seen the light… About the white, you know they are showing all kinds of white for fall now, including white jeans, which I love. So that whole white after Labor Day thing is kinda fading. I would not wear white patent leather shoes or belt in the dead of winter, but otherwise, times they are a changin’. I nearly fainted a few seasons ago when I saw a photo of none other than Ms. Anna Wintour herself at the Paris shows in February (I think) in dark stockings and white/light shoes. How about that…

  14. Tomato sandwiches in the summer with my mother’s homemade mayonnaise – Nothing better. When I would go back to Mississippi this would be lunch evey day in the summer – alternating with a BLT..

  15. I’m STILL dreaming about that tomato sandwich you made me a few weeks ago. The same one you describe above. It was out of this world!!! I’ve tried to imitate it since, but am convinced THAT flatbread was the key…

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