Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vicksburgh Tomato Sandwiches


Some of the most essential Southern favorites are as simple as white bread and home grown tomatoes but for as long as I can remember these have been staples at our family reunion and are what always remind me that something doesn't have to be incredibly detailed or in-depth to be delicious!  

My Aunt Marie and Uncle Jimmy are the great bearers of these heavenly favorites.  They found the recipe years ago in a magazine and recently, while perusing the old dusty contents of a yard sale, they came across that very magazine and turned right to the page.  The page that started this whole thing!  

I find moments like this in life so fascinating.  Some might just shrug it off as some sort of coincidence but I have long been told there are no coincidences in life and that everything has its purpose and everything happens for a reason.  

To me this small discovery reminds me that our past will always be there as comfort, as a reminder and as a part of who we are.  In the middle of the summer, sitting here having my coffee and breakfast on the morning of July 4th I become nostalgic of all the times spent with family and friends celebrating our nation's birthday. I think of times long ago, people who have left this earth but remain in our hearts and all the wonderful memories that surround the small symbols that remain with us today.  

These are absolutely one of those symbols.  

May you all have a safe and happy July 4th making your own memories and being grateful for those around you!

Much love,

Vicksburgh Tomato Sandwiches

4 medium tomatoes, peeled
1 small onion
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
24 slices white bread

Slice off end of tomatoes,: cut each tomato into 3 slices, and place on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt: let stand 2 to 3 hours.  Grate onion, using smallest holes of grater, reserving the juice with onion. Set aside.  Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and red pepper; set aside. 
Cut bread slices with round cutters, matching size of tomato slices. Spread bread rounds with mayonnaise mixture. Top half of bread rounds with a tomato slice, about 18 teaspoon grated onion (including the juice), and remaing bread rounds. Yield: 1 dozen 

Vicksburgh, Missippi, native Jane Ball emphasizes that the Vicksburg Tomato Sandwich did not originate with her. It has been a tradition in Vicksburg “for years and years and years with the ladies who entertained.” Sara Jane has served them on occasions ranging from her daughter’s wedding reception to cocktail parties, and they are always eaten first.

The secret to the great taste of the Vicksburg Tomato Sandwich is in the combination of onion juice, mayonnaise and fresh tomatoes. Sarah Jane says the onion juice is essential because, “it marries perfectly with the tomatoes without overpowering.” Use the fine part of an ordinary grater for just the right consistency of juice and pulp.

The sandwiches are always round; do not cut in half. One slice of tomato fits precisely between two slices of bread. They are easy to prepare, and make great finger food.

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