Anything goes here. This is a no-brainer for an easy summer brunch or hors d’oeuvre party. Starting with the season’s best vine ripened tomatoes. If you’re not growing your own, hit the farmer’s market and select a variety of slicing tomatoes. It’s nice to have 2 to 3 different tomatoes, not only for flavor, but for color. Our picture depicts two of our favorites ~ brandywine red and Cherokee purple. Excellent slicing tomatoes. Add a good loaf of bread or two, good quality thick cut bacon and a leafy green lettuce and you have the foundation for something fabulous. Offering condiments like herb mayonnaise, pestos, aged cheeses, specialty salts and peppers, sliced onions, herb infused olive oil enables guests to build their own.
Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients below. We have numerous suggested items. It’s not necessary to offer all that we have provided.
Provides enough for 8 open face sandwiches.
- 1-2 loaves of artisan bread, toasted (amount depends on how large your loaf is. You’ll need at least 8 slices for open face sandwiches)
- 3 – 4 large vine ripened tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
- 1 lb thick cut peppered bacon, oven roasted until crisp (approximately 15 minutes)
- 1 head of leafy green lettuce, leaves removed, washed and dried (green or red leaf are my favorite)
- 1 C herb mayonaise (recipe below)
- 1/2 C basil pesto (homemade or store bought
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
- 8 slices of aged cheese (cheddar, gouda, swiss – you choose!)
- 1 red or sweet onion, sliced thin
- 1/3 C capers, presented in a small dish
- Sprigs of fresh organic basil, parsley or thyme (or a combination of all three)
- Lemon dill compound butter (optional) presented in a small dish
- Crumbled goat or bleu cheese, directly on board or in a dish
- Seasoned salt and cracked black pepper
- Herb infused extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Radish sprouts (optional)
- Sliced jalapeno (optional)
- Sliced cucumbers (optional)
- Sliced organic bell peppers (optional)
- Pepperoncini (optional)
- Pickles, sliced (optional)
- Whole radishes. trimmed (optional)
- Ranch dressing for cold vegetables (optional)
We lightly toasted our bread to hold up to the tomato juices. This is a particularly good idea if you’re serving these as hand-held hors d’oeuvres.
Assembling your board just takes creativity. Colorfully fanning out ingredients and then placing little dishes of pesto, herb mayonnaise, salts, herb olive oil, cheeses amongst the displayed foods. Framing the board with lettuce leaves, herbs and sprouts to brighten the presentation is nice. And then scattering colorful sliced vegetables, fruits, herbs and pickled items adds more texture and color to your board.
- 1 C good mayonnaise
- ½ C basil, chopped (basil, tarragon or dill or a combination of all)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl until, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Transfer to a small serving bowl, garnish the top with more chopped herbs and keep chilled until ready to serve.
A couple of tips :
- Fan out tomatoes at opposite end of your bread and bacon. Again, they are juicy and those juices will spread to other ingredients. You don’t want your bread and bacon soaked in tomato juices
- Provide small spoons, knives and tongs alongside items so guests can easily get all ingredients onto their bread
- Suggest to guests that they build from the bottom up : bread, spread, then tomato, then everything else. Having the tomato on the bottom avoids a bitecatastrophe and the bread will act as a bed for all the juices from your tomato.
Consider adding some of the following to your brunch board:
- Eggs ~ soft boiled, sunny side up or poached
- Tomato jams
- Smoked salmon or lox
- Toasted bagels
- Herb cream cheese
- Soup offered in small cups or bowls
- Sliced fruits with yogurt dipping sauce
Of course this can be a meal in-itself, but if you wanted to add a soup or two (or a salad), you’d be a big hit! We enjoyed our BLT’s with a favorite Roasted Heirloom Tomato topped with goat cheese and herb croutons – Delicious!