Summer means beach. And beach means sandwiches. And the ultimate beach sandwich go-to-spot is an Italian deli in Santa Monica, where if you’re a local, you know to arrive by 10:30 a.m. or you’ll be waiting in a line that goes out the door, giving you plenty of time to check out the beautiful-people-that-know-they-are and peruse the imported Italian oils, pastas and anchovies.
A Santa Monica institution, Bay Cities, serves The Godmother, their signature sandwich loaded with genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto and provolone, and my husband’s favorite when it’s with “the works.” But I’m satisfied with a bite of my husbands sandwich—he’s quit complaining about my “bites” after all these years.
For me its all about the fresh mozzarella and so I go for the Caprese. Fresh and simple and hopefully I’ll still look okay in my swimsuit.
We’re not at the beach anymore but I’m still a sucker for fresh mozzarella—not the kind in the package, you need a great buffalo variety or one soaked in water— fresh sliced tomatoes and basil. But on my version I like to add a slathering of kalamata olive spread (Trader Joe’s is my go-to), fresh fruity olive oil, bold balsamic vinegar and spicy arugula.
I’ve become less of a ground pepper fan in the past few years, but this is one dish I don’t chintz on. And the bread. It’s really all about the bread. Grocery store varieties just don’t cut it, so a trip to the farmer’s market or a local bakery is always in order.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Caprese Sandwich with Arugula and Olive Spread
- 2 slices sourdough or other sturdy bread like a foccacia
- 2 thick cut slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella
- 2 thick slices of tomato
- 1/2 cup arugula leaves
- 1 -2 T olive spread
- fruity olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- Spread the olive spread on the bottom slice of bread. Drizzle olive oil on top slice of bread. Load on tomato slices, mozzarella and arugula. Drizzle balsamic on top of arugula and more olive oil if desired. Salt and pepper. Eat.
If you’re looking for a variation on the traditional tomato/basil combo, check out these inventive ideas from some of our favorite foodie bloggers, get slicing and start eating.
photo > Big Girls Small Kitchen
Based on a revered sandwich Phoebe discovered at the Martha Vineyard eatery Slice of Life, her and Cara’s Big Girl Small Kitchen‘s Fried Multicolored Tomato BLTs with Basil-Chive Mayo is an ingenious way to use up those not-quite-ripe-but-can’t-bear-to-let-them-go green tomatoes, and a sure way to keep summer in your sights.
photo > Love & Olive Oil
With the contrast in colors of green zebra tomatoes, red heirlooms and purple-ey kalamatas complementing the crusty sourdough and perfectly creamy and white goat cheese, you can see where the artist in Lindsay came to play in Love & Olive Oil ‘s Toasted Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Sandwiches. Oh my, it looks good enough to eat.
photo > Lucullian Delights
Living my dream as she cooks and photographs while living in idyllic Italy (my dream’s version of Under the Tuscan Sun is minus Diane Lane thank you) Ilva marries Italian with an asian-inspired wasabi spiked avocado in Lucullian Delights Summer Sandwich with White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes on Avocado and Wasabi Butter.
photo > The Lonely Bean
Now this is a simple spin on caprese I’ve never thought of. Sauteéd shitakes drizzled with aromatic and dee-vine truffle oil? Claire is a visionary with The Lonely Bean‘s Sherry Sauteed Shiitakes with Goat Cheese, Arugula, Tomato and Truffle Oil (cue spooky voice) I see the future, and this sandwich is miiiiiinnnnne.
And if you’re hanging around the house this weekend and thinking, “Hey! I want to bake!”, make it a holiday cookie and submit it to our 50 Best Holiday Cookie Recipes. Submit your holiday cookie by September 1 .