You want your best, firmest, tastiest medium-size tomatoes for this sandwich as they are sliced very thinly and topped with finely chopped pitted black olives and capers with a drizzle of your best olive oil and another of your finest syrupy balsamic vinegar. I splashed out on Natoora’s so-called winter tomatoes If you can buy capers in olive oil, so much the better, if not, you could prepare some yourself. My picture shows the two sides of the sandwich but for mise en place make the ‘salad’ in a single layer, so it can be lifted with a palette knife onto the bread. Just squeeze out excess vinegar from the capers then put in a jar with some of your finest olive oil and keep somewhere cool. I bought a jar – a small jar without realizing until I checked the bill; they are amazingly expensive but very good. I used prosciutto cotto but whatever ham you have will be good, but be generous. Again, butter the outside of the bread so it sizzles nicely if you have a toastie machine. Alternatively, use a griddle and butter or oil both sides of the bread for a rich finish. Btw, if you haven’t already thought of it and depending on your presentation, I would serve sandwiches with a knife and fork and paper napkins.
Makes 2 sandwiches
6-8 decent pitted black olives (not those horrible super-smooth ones that come in brine) or 10-12 Nicoise olives
2 tsp capers (ideally in olive oil)
extra-virgin olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
4 very ripe tomatoes
4 thick slices country style French or Italian bread or sour dough bread
Finely chop the black olives. Squeeze the capers to remove the vinegar and toss with a little olive oil. With a very sharp knife, cut out the tomato core in a point plug shape. Slice down the tomatoes in paper-thin (translucent) slices. If using a toasted sandwich machine, butter one side of each slice of bread, then arrange tomato slices across the surface of one unbuttered slice (or hot toast if making this on a griddle/with toast from a regular toaster), and press lightly into bread/toast with a spatula or dinner knife. Top with a mix of capers and olives, a drizzle of balsamico and another of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and freshly grated black pepper, cover with folds of ham, close the sandwich and finish in the toasted sandwich machine.