I think the fact that my favourite recipes all harken back to my childhood and adolescence is no coincidence: my folks are both soil scientists and, as you can imagine, avid gardeners. The garden of my childhood home spans three properties in our tiny Manitoba town, and in addition to dozens of beds of beautiful flowers, mature fruit trees, a pond, a small but deceptively abundant raspberry patch, corn plants that positively tower over my 6″3′ husband, there is a healthy amount of yard-space dedicated to the cultivation of fresh lettuces, spinach, peas, beans, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and more.
It was always this way, and this time of year at our house always meant that there would be mounds of fresh garden produce piled on the kitchen counter awaiting inclusion into our favourite recipes. It’s the same now that I have a home of my own: though my garden is small in comparison, the nurturing of plants is a given, and every year my yard is resplendent with life – despite having been assigned to tasks like counting seeds as a child and promising all who would listen that any garden of my adulthood would be inanimate.
Although I cannot recall whether my mom’s famous triple decker sandwiches became synonymous with comfort and, quite frankly, happiness in those early years or later on in life, they are, to be sure, my main reason for planting tomatoes and looking forward to harvesting them every year.
On one slice of bread, layer a thick smear of mayonnaise and top with fresh tomatoes from the garden. Grocery store tomatoes will do but they are, admittedly, not quite the same. A little bit of cracked black pepper and a pinch (just a pinch!) of sugar to bring out the tomatoes’ natural sweetness gets sprinkled on top of that, and then another slice of bread. Next, some thick slices of your favourite cheese and maybe a little more mayo, if you wish. The final slice of bread gets piled on and buttered just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich. Though making triple deckers is easiest with a panini press, you can still make them in a frying pan, the old fashioned way. I would just recommend covering them with a lid for a little while to ensure the cheese melts. Give them a good press with your spatula, too, for maximum awesomeness.
Serve with pickles.