Inside the Picnic Basket: Tomato Tea Sandwiches

We all have a meal to prepare for Diner en Blanc to pack inside our picnic baskets for the most enchanting evening of the summer. In this new series, we bring the stories and recipes of local chefs and food lovers to help inspire your own magical meal.

Tracey Deschaine is the head chef and owner of Dixie Picnic based in Frazer, PA. Dixie Picnic opened in 2006 as a full service restaurant in Ocean City, New Jersey. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts, it soon found a following with locals and visitors alike. In 2009, Dixie Picnic moved to the Philadelphia suburbs to share the joy of fresh, simple food and delicious upcakes with the Philly crowd. Dixie Picnic celebrates the tradition of food that starts with quality ingredients, made from scratch, and served fresh on the premises. The below post comes directly from Tracey who is excitedly counting down the days to Diner en Blanc Philadelphia 2013.

The recipe I would like to share is very simple but incredibly delicious. It epitomizes the delight of a wonderful garden ripened tomato and that flavor that you can never find in January!

Summer Tomato Tea Sandwiches

Sometimes its not a fancy recipe, but the best of nature’s bounty that becomes the star! This tomato tea sandwich is amazingly popular down south; when you try it, you’ll understand why.
Use vine ripened garden tomatoes, especially local heirlooms if you can find them.

1 tsp salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
About 8-10 slices of firmly textured country white bread

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and scrape out the seeds and liquid. Finely dice the tomato flesh and place them in a large fine sieve. Sprinkle the tomatoes with 1 tsp of salt and allow to sit for an hour so the water is drawn out of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes on a piece of cheesecloth and press gently to discard remaining water out of the tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a bowl and mix with the mayo, mustard, and pepper. Spread the tomato mixture on sliced bread and top with another slice. Cut off the crusts and cut into any shape your little heart desires!

When you take a bite, you’ll know summer has arrived! This recipe is a good choice for Diner en Blanc because it can withstand some time without refrigeration without wilting or becoming a hazard. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how this sandwich actually does not become soggy like you might imagine, even if made ahead of time.

This year, my husband and I are planning our own Dixie Picnic Diner en Blanc with a Southern theme. First, we’ll crack open our first bottle of wine (I think I have a Pouilly Fuisse that would be perfect) and pop some pimento cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes from my neighbor’s garden. Then we’ll break out a tray of tea sandwiches including the tomato tea sandwich, nutty chicken salad, cucumber cream cheese and dill, and deviled ham on our homemade multigrain and country white bread. Our main dish will be cold Southern fried chicken–you can’t get any more traditional than that! We’ll have a side salad of Lancaster County cantalope chunks with a topping of flash crisped Smithfield ham over spring mix with some toasted pecans and a sprinkle of simple white balsamic vinaigrette. For dessert, we are planning a medley of white upcakes such as carrot cake, key lime, and lemon.

Thank you, Tracey! Can we join you for dessert?!

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