tomato and fried provolone sandwich

Last November, I finally got my chicken noodle soup exactly the way I always wanted it but when I brought it to the table, I couldn’t eat it. This happens sometimes. Sometimes I just spend too much time working on a dish and I’m rather sick of it by the time we eat it, in only the way that a person with first world problems can be. I chalked it up to that. I did not chalk it up to the pregnancy I’d found out about approximately 15 minutes prior, because my mother never had morning sickness with either me or my sister, I never had morning sickness with my son, and certainly didn’t think it was going to happen because of a 16 day-old rapidly dividing and already beloved cluster of cells.

what you'll need

The next night, the leftovers, wasn’t much better. How had I ever liked something so revolting? “Slippery noodles… soft chickeny bits of celery… sweet supple carrots… everything buttery and swaddling and rich…” I tried to explain to my husband who cracked up at how I could make even the most delicious things sound like a shortcut to the vomitorium. The problem was, my son went nuts for it. Every day he came home from school and hopefully asked “Are we having chicken noodle soup for dinner?” and every day, was crushed to hear the word no. My husband finally took pity on him a couple weeks later and made it from my recipe. I hid in the bedroom until the smell was gone. And so it went for the next 38 dreary weeks. Food was uninteresting or downright terrible. I was gloomy because I never realized how much my motivation here is driven by hunger and a now-elusive appetite. I wondered if it would always be this way.

masterful bread slicing skills

The day we took Anna home from the hospital, my mother-in-law insisted upon heating up the soup she’d brought over for my lunch and I was two spoonfuls into it when I realized: I was eating the enemy. Happily. “How did I ever hate this? This is amazing: I love the noodles! The chicken! The carrots!” I wanted to inhale the whole bowl. I wanted seconds. Fourths. I wanted sweet potatoes and winter squash and omelets and caramelized onions and every single thing that I’d ever found disgusting and it’s been that way since. I’m cured! Not to overstate it, but I feel totally alive again. And so it should be no surprise that I couldn’t stay out of the kitchen long.

yes, mayo

I would not say that my first attempt back at the stove was a resounding success. In the weeks before my daughter (still getting used to saying this!) was born, I began compiling at a list of Quick Recipes for Sleepy Times, things that seemed too simple not to try if I could steal 15 minutes downtime and was eager to do anything, albeit briefly, besides parenting. This was at the top of it. I prayed I’d never be too tired or crazed to slice tomatoes on bread, as if I didn’t know that’s exactly what the early weeks are like.

tomato and fried provolone sandwich

The idea behind this is to take the perfect high summer classic — a tomato sandwich on hearty bread with mayo, salt and pepper — and add one glorious extra thing, a slice of provolone cheese, fried. So it forms a brown crust, like frico but with a melty center. I was excited about this because while better frying cheeses exist — halloumi is at the top of the list, but I tend not to focus on it much here because it’s both elusive (even in NYC, I only find it about half the time I’m looking for it) and expensive (I’ve never bought a block for less than $10, and could easily demolish it myself in one meal… but try not to) — if there was a way to have a similar effect with a generally overlooked inexpensive deli aisle staple, I’d never turn it down.

tomato and fried provolone sandwich

Jennifer Hess, a longtime food blogger whose ideas always make me want to stop what I’m doing to run to the kitchen, warns on Food52 to that frying the cheese would be “tricky and messy, and you’ll probably curse my name, but it can be done…” and, lo, I did it but without any particular grace or skill. I’ll chalk it up to 18 days of sporadic sleep. Regardless, I want/need you to know that even with the scraped-up brown mess masquerading as fried provolone I flopped onto our sandwiches, it still 18 ways amazing, the absolutely most wonderful summer lunch there could be. We inhaled it. I wanted to make it again the next day, alas, “the new day” in new parent-ese is roughly 3 to 4 weeks. Regardless, it’s totally going to taste like triumph. I hope you get a chance to try it, much sooner.

day 7

Thank you: For your good cheer on our announcement. You make it really fun to share great news here. I’m a little behind on well, everything, but also comment responses, although I read every single one twice. I expect to be all caught up by the time she graduates high school. :)

One year ago: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles
Two years ago: One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
Three years ago: Peach Pie
Four years ago: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Five years ago: Thai-Style Chicken Legs and Peach Blueberry Cobbler
Six years ago: Blueberry Boy Bait and Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza
Seven years ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Eight years ago: Classic Madeleines, Mediterranean/Israeli Salad + Pita Chips

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake
1.5 Years Ago: Chicken Pho
2.5 Years Ago: Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel Syrup
3.5 Years Ago: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Sizzling Garlic Oil

Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
From Jennifer Hess, via Food52

I didn’t buy fancy or aged provolone to make this, although they may have worked better. I wanted to know if it would work with the most unsung and readily available type, the kind that comes presliced and usually hangs out in the packaged deli meats aisle. It was thinner than the 1/4-inch slices Hess recommends, so I used two together at once. It was definitely a mess once heated, more of a puddle that I scraped off the frying pan (nonstick is your friend here) and flipped than a lovely browned underside. I assumed that it would go in the trash and we’d never speak of this, but the parts that had browned look — and tasted — amazing. Not a speck was wasted. I suspect most of us already know how to make the perfect summer tomato sandwich, but should be looking for a little something extra on yours today, mess or not, may we highly recommend some fried cheese?

Makes 2 big sandwiches, or 4 open-faced smaller ones, tartine-style

4 1/2-inch thick slices your favorite sturdy bread*
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Two to four 1/4-inch slices provolone cheese (use larger amount for smaller slices)
Olive oil2 medium-sized perfectly ripe tomatoes, sliced
Flaky salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Spread each slice of bread with mayonnaise and set aside.

Heat a skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-low heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil and let it heat until shimmering. Add first slice of provone to skillet and fry it until crusty and golden underneath. Using a very thin spatula (this “flexible fish spatula” style is my favorite, for everything) carefully flip slice. It’s probably not going to flip neatly and you’ll probably curse me and also Hess but a messy slice will taste no less delicious than a photogenic one, promise. Just do your best. Fry the slice on the other side until golden underneath, then lift this browned cheese mess out of the pan and onto your first prepared bread slice. Repeat with remaining slices of cheese, frying more than one at a time if you’re now more comfortable with the process.

Arrange slices of tomatoes over fried provolone on bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat with one hand while calming an irate newborn with the other (if you’re me) or with two hands, from a plate, sitting down with a napkin on your lap, you civilized thing (if you’re not me, clearly).

* Forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but my favorite is the whole wheat sourdough (a.k.a. miche or pain de campagne; think: Poilâne, but not requiring a ticket to Paris) you see here and elsewhere on the site. If you live near a Le Pain Quotidien, they sell theirs in quarters from gigantic loaves. Balthazar also makes their own, which is wonderful, and also sells it in quarters, inexpensively.

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248 comments on tomato and fried provolone sandwich

  1. Charlotte

    Looks amazing! Welcome back to the kitchen and your appetite. Your little girl is soooo cute and the pic of Jacob holding her – awwwwww. Bless.

  2. Elly

    This is PERFECT, Deb. My husband and I are headed to the beach this week, and while I love tomato sandwiches (especially as nostalgic vacation food), he needs a little extra something salty to make them worth it. Fried cheese is just the ticket.

  3. Lee

    34 weeks pregnant (also with our second, also a little sister to a big brother) and I have never identified with a food blog more… which is saying something because I always feel like you read my mind! I cannot wait for the return of deliciousness to my life (in non-ice-cream form), and plan to mow through the recent archives with delight! Congratulations on both your little joys!!

  4. Kelly

    I know I’d make a messy disaster if I attempted to fry the provolone in my cast iron (don’t own any nonstick… I know, I know). I’m going to try broiling it over the top and see what happens (read: mess all over the bottom of my toaster oven). Sounds delicious either way! That pic of your lovely babies is absolutely beautiful, btw.

  5. Congrats again: she is so, so precious! You’re a go-getter for cooking and posting here at all in the first month (or three) :) this sandwich of course looks amazing and is now calling to me at work…

  6. Lindsey Murphy

    I’m sitting here reading this with my 5 week old son sleeping on my chest. Hoping to get a chance to make this for lunch today…we shall see!

  7. Kat

    Oh I hear you on the food while pregnant … I couldn’t tolerate dairy the entire time during all 3 of my pregnancies, and it was miraculous and wonderful how within hours of delivering my delightful bundles of joy I could imbibe of all things milk again!

  8. Rachel

    Oh my goodness, Deb, Anna is so gorgeous! And at 23 weeks pregnant, you’ve just put it better than I ever could – hideous hyperemesis for 20 of the last 23 weeks, and I’m only just coming round to the idea of eating for pleasure again. I made your chocolate banana bread two days ago and it’s already demolished, it’s definitely going on rotation! As is this – looks delicious!

  9. I don’t even like provolone cheese (one of the two cheeses I don’t like) and I want to make this now. I think I’ll shop on my way home.
    Thanks, and congrats on the lovely new member of your family!

  10. It’s not quite tomato season here, so this will wait until August. Lately we’ve always had provolone — circle cheese, as Lilli puts it — on hand.

    Incidentally, it turns out my high school Latin teacher was wrong. A vomitorium is not where people go to with feathers in hand after they’ve had too much to eat. Rather a doorway at a colloseum for people to exit out of. I know, such a disappointment when I found out.

  11. Melissa

    Congratulations again : ) I remember my husband “welcoming me back” after the morning sickness (or 24-7 sickness) resolved…some of those pregnancy turn-offs can be permanent but so glad you can enjoy your chicken soup again!

  12. Kelly

    Like Lee above, I’m also into the third trimester of my second pregnancy and am looking forward to once again embracing all forms of delicious culinary delights! This tomato sandwich looks like the perfect thing to try during those first few ravenous and delirious weeks of newborn baby time :)

  13. Anna

    This looks incredible, and congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! You clearly have spectacular taste in food AND names. :)

  14. Robin

    So happy for you all! I made a lovely dinner for friends courtesy of a bunch of your recipes last weekend: the new ribs recipe, the green beans with almond pesto, the triple berry summer cake. Oh, and the refrigerator dill pickles! All delicious as expected. Hope you are enjoying your babymoon!

  15. mimi

    This looks amazing!

    Also, if you live close to a Trader Joe’s, I usually can find halloumi there, pre-sliced and in brine.

  16. Bridget

    i read this and immediately texted my sister to see if she grabbed any heirlooms from the farmer’s market this morning! what a simply perfect sandwich! and congrats on your adorable anna! having a big brother is the best :)

  17. Terri

    I so remember the non appetite of being pregnant, many years ago for me. And the magic of food afterwards, a blessing. I’m glad your back and can enjoy what you love again (besides your family). This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it. Sadly no local tomatoes since summer seems to be bypassing us this year.

  18. Congrats on the new babe! I am going to buy some provolone today! I stopped eating meat when I was pregnant with my son. He’ll be 40 in October and the desire for meat never came back.

  19. Tiffany

    40 weeks and 5 days pregnant here. I can relate to the pregnancy aversions all too well. I was sick as a dog well into the 25th week (or more). The baby would make his or her displeasure known in very graphic fashion if I ate any kind of food that s/he disagreed with. I LOVE to eat, and it pained me not to be able to eat my favorite foods. While I can eat pretty much anything now, I have strong aversions to bad food now. While I might have been able to choke meh food down before, I can’t do it anymore. Anyway, I’m so happy to see you posting again, and will send this recipe to my mom to cook for me after the baby is born! We have fabulous tomatoes down here!

    P.S. Those Anna baby toes are too adorable, as is her big brother!!

  20. Marla

    Your 2 children together make a wonderful picture. They are adorable! Even though my 2 pregnancies were 36 years ago, I remember the all day sickness from my first-born and how I still managed to gain 40 pounds. The second was not as bad, but the heartburn! So with that one I actually lost weight, to the point that the doctor sent me to have every possible test done. Baby was fine. We discovered the weight loss was me having to chase down a very active 2 year old on a daily basis! I hope they give you endless hours of joy!

  21. Kris

    I start law school orientation next week, and I’ve been racking my brains for quick dinners. This might fit the bill perfectly. Also, that picture of Jacob holding Anna… well, ignore the squee you just heard from the vicinity of Florida.

  22. Lauren

    Have you ever tried frying Dominican white cheese? It’s easy to find in NYC the most common is “tropical Queso Blanco” and it fries great. The Dominican way to eat it would be fried with mangu and induveca salami but I think it would work great for other cheese frying needs as well.

  23. JenW

    Funny about it being chicken soup! It thought our bodies tried to sway us from “bad” things. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t abide the smell of coffee, and Chinese/Vietnamese food odors would send me reeling. But then…it all sorts itself out. Adorable photo of your children!

  24. Mimi (another one :)

    Dear Deb,

    we will continue to write hundreds of comments every time you post a picture of your cute kids :-D Can I kiss those tiny feet?

    Now tell me where I can buy the green and yellow tomatoes :( please…(nowhere around here, I know).

  25. Minik

    Aw, thank you for your sincere words!

    It’s funny that as I was reading your thoughts on halloumi that we think the same way of French, Italian etc. cheeses here in Turkey. Whenever I buy them I can never find an excuse to use them. I think, “Using up 1/2 a cup of Parmesan for a recipe! No way!” And then it just sits there, in the fridge :) We usually just eat them “raw”.
    But halloumi, that’s really cheap. I think I know what to use in this recipe ;)

  26. This looks great!
    I was looking for a simple way to try heirloom tomatoes, this is perfect! (moved to NY from Argentina two years ago and I’m still discovering new things to try!).

    Also fried provolone? I would eat it straight from the pan every day!

    Thank you for sharing! And congrats on the new baby! She is beautiful! :)

  27. JP

    Oh, so glad to see you back and know all are healthy and well. Thank you for the new recipe…it sounds divine. Tomatoes are what summer is made of. I was lucky and never had a bit of morning sickness with any of my three girls. I remember pregnancy as eating anything I wanted- and the only time I ate more then my husband. Happy times! Best wishes with the dear baby.

  28. This recipe looks so good! I kind of started drooling just at the sight of these tomatoes. Such a perfect summer recipe. And I totally know what you mean about not being hungry for the meal after you spend a long time preparing it. I guess it’s a sad/weird truth of life…
    Your kids are gorgeous :)
    xx Lane

  29. How interesting! Of course I always snack on the browned bits that sneak out of the grilled cheese sandwiched onto the pan, but it never occurred to me to fry up a whole slice of a classic melting cheese. It looks delicious.

    Considering that you didn’t have much of an appetite during your pregnancy, you did an amazing job updating regularly! I’m impressed. Anna is adorable, of course, and I’m so happy for you.

  30. Lisa

    Congrats!! Thank you for posting pictures so quickly—shes beautiful. Enjoy every moment. I remember thinking and worrying while pregnant how I could ever love our second child as much as the first, but I do and it was so easy and natural. I’m sure you’ve already figured that out :-)

  31. Ah yes the mysteries of the pregnancy appetite! I craved Marmite,which I’d loathed, for the first ten days of my first pregnancy and then went completely off meat and fish. That was fun! Eventually appetite came back and this time around I can tolerate cooked meat just not the cooking smells! Fun times!

  32. Sally

    Your sandwich sounds delicious, and I hope that the first few days home with Anna have been going well. You will LOVE the age difference with your kids!

  33. jackie

    Ah, I remember wanting to try this after seeing it on Food52. I’m in my 13th week of pregnancy (my third) and have to eat a tomato sandwich every day. Will track down some provolone to try this version next!
    I think you should note somewhere that the bread should be toasted (or did I miss this?).
    Your daughter is precious – love the photo of her and Jacob – how they resemble each other already!!

  34. Arlene Novick

    Mazel Tov on that gorgeous little addition to your family…. Enjoy the time you have with both of them and as always, thanks for the delicious recipe!

  35. Teresa K

    My granddaughter (a six-year old budding chef) has me put a slice of provolone on the outside of her grilled cheese and fry it. The first time she asked me t I told her it would never work but it does the cheese becomes golden brown and crispy. I butter the bread before grilling the sandwich but do not add additional oil or butter to the pan.

  36. Susan

    I’ve never tried fried cheese, well, except that which oozes out of the sides of a grilled cheese sandwich..which is the absolute best part of it. I have, however, broiled shredded cheese on top of an open face tomato sandwich and it is my first love of the tomato cheese variety. The tomatoes warmed by the heat, the mayonnaise sizzles on the edges of the bread to a crispy brown crunchy delight and the cheese, it bubbles and brown polka dots appear as abundant as on a party hat! It’s a party for your mouth!

  37. This looks great! I used to feel the same way about halloumi but then Trader Joes started selling it for around $5 for a block of it pre-sliced, I’m not sure if they’re not selling it back east, but you should definitely look out for it next time you’re in TJs.
    Congrats on Anna!!

  38. Wow how beautiful and colorful!! It’s like a fancy grilled cheese with pretty tomatoes ; )
    I just tried haloumi for the first time the other day, and it is amazing (and expensive). Can’t wait to try this!

  39. The first para was so comforting. I had no morning sickness during my daughter, and ate everything that was within grabbing distance. No food was safe from me, I wanted everything. But with the second, I couldn’t face anything but leafy vegetables. Meat, even seafood(!!), was off limits. I remember looking at your chicken noodle soup pictures longingly. And now at 14 weeks, things are returning to normal and I’m going to attempt that soup!
    Congrats on the super adorable baby!

  40. Tonya

    Stop. Just….stop. The dimple, and the tiny, wrinkly feet in that last photo are too much for me. At 38-weeks-and-3-days-and-can-we-be-done-yet-please? myself, that photo alone is enough to propel me in to a weepy mess. Congrats on your beautiful little addition – she is obviously already so beloved.

  41. Belated congrats on the baby! And so funny to hear you say Halloumi is hard to find– ever since I moved to Scotland, Halloumi is everywhere but I can never find provolone (which is a pain every time I want to make your eggplant pizza!). :) Best wishes with the new family member! :)

  42. Leslie

    Jacob’s dimple is just delicious! Love hearing all about your soups, sandwiches, and everyday life through the food you prepare. These tomato sandwiches look amazing. Congratulations and best wishes to you you all.

  43. Lauren

    Welcome back…lucky us! Not only are the tomatoes gorgeous enough to make my mouth water, but the darling photo featuring two lovely children is making us all smile. Jacob’s dimple is the perfect size for one of Anna’s toesies. Both absolutely precious parts of each of your darling children. I mentioned that Jacob would look HUGE, but I didn’t expect to get to see the contrast myself! Thank you, I will have a tomato sandwich right now for lunch while staring at that dimple.

  44. Leah

    Can you even stand your delight when Kiddo 1 holds Kiddo 2? The first time I saw the great love of my life hold the other great love of my life, all while being supervised by the original great love, their father, I plotzed. All. The. Feels.

  45. Page

    I am so impressed by you! The baby in our house is almost 4 months old and we’re cooking maybe once a week. Huge congratulations on the happy arrival. So teeny! Maaahhhh!

  46. Kimberly

    The dimple and baby toes…in one picture. My heart….big brother holding little sister….LOVE!!! oh, the sandwich looks OK too….

  47. Marianne

    I love your site/recipes! Thank you for it/them! My only compliant is that your font is so small, it’s hard to read. Perhaps it needs to be the size it is, and perhaps others don’t have difficulty reading it. Just thought it might be worth mentioning.

  48. Oh, I’m so excited about your new daughter! And the tomato sandwich, too, of course.

    I’m on my second child now, too, and it DOES get easier. Albeit, there are new challenges that crop up, like when the baby decides to just not nap anymore because he’s getting teeth and oh god, teeth, THEY HURT AND I WANT MY MOUTH TO STOP HURTING NOW, MOMMY! But I sincerely thought I was going to go insane for the first few months of two-child parenthood. =)

    The website link has a picture of my Milo, who will be six months old on Sunday. If you lived closer (I’m in central NJ), I’d say we should get the kids together for a playdate, but I’ll just admire your little one from afar. =)

  49. Cheese and tomatoes can never be wrong together. Also, I’m amazed at how tiny Anna looks in her brothers arms. My “baby” just turned 15 on the 17th and he’s close to 6 feet tall so it’s hard to think back all that time. Enjoy! It really goes quickly.

  50. Anisha

    Congrats to you and your family, Deb! I teared up reading about Anna’s arrival, and must say it’s pretty impressive to see you back here so soon with another charming post! These postpartum recipes are especially treasured, as I’ll be taking over as head chef at my sister’s place for a week after her little bundle arrives.

  51. Rebecca

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with my first daughter and couldn’t be more pleased that you’ve started posting “one handed” 15 minute recipes. I love to eat and cook and have been unwilling to admit how difficult that will soon become. Perfect timing for me! Enjoy the little one and thanks for sharing the deliciousness.

  52. Cara

    I am continually saying that I’d forgotten just how hungry nursing can make you. My beautiful bundle is closing in on six months, and I still want to eat all the things, all the time. Unfortunately, I don’t want to drag myself and two kids to the store… You know what’s in my kitchen right now? Yep, every last ingredient for this sandwich. So, if you need me, I will be in the kitchen.

  53. illana

    Speaking of a melty mess, I’m just about a puddle over the adorable photo of Anna being held by her big bro. Those little bean toes. I can never get enough of them. So many mazal tovs to you and the fam!

  54. june2

    Also, I seriously recommend renting a doula for a month at least or even intermittently during the first few months – no one can do that time alone, esp. with another child to tend. In some countries, it comes standard as part of the postpartem package!

    PS: JoannaGoddard’s blog has the best series ever on motherhood around the world – it’s a great read to see how other countries handle these things, really illuminating to see just how hard it is for American new parents!

  55. Heidi

    I live in England and halloumi is really easy to find ( and reasonably priced) and provolone is really hard to find unless you find some specialty cheese shop. Do you think it would taste as nice with halloumi?

  56. Daria

    a. Congratulations on your adorable new bundle!
    b. When I was pregnant, I could not eat chicken anything – it revolted me. The one time I threw up was from buffalo wings (no morning sickness otherwise). Afterward, I was fine with chicken. But, during pregnancy, lemonade was my friend and was the one thing I really craved. Oh, that and peanut butter.
    c. This looks awesome – we should be getting lovely heirloom tomatoes from our garden any day now, and this gives me yet another fabulous use for them.

  57. Congrats again on your beautiful, sweet new addition! Last summer, after my second was born, I think I survived on mostly tomato sandwiches for roughly 3-4 months. Good thing she was a summer baby- I think if she’d been born in December I would have starved. ;)

  58. Karen

    Yesssss! Total deliciousness! So glad you’re back!
    (I was totally prepared for your taking
    the typical 3-month maternity leave, since
    you’ve archived so many recipes
    for us!) But it is more fun hearing how
    y’all are doing currently with your new addition.)
    A special thanks for the pic of Jacob
    with Anna-kind big brothers make all
    the difference in a girl’s life (& having
    a little sis to love benefits his, too!)
    Deb, do you mind sharing what did Jacob say when
    seeing her for the first time??

  59. alexis

    On wishing for Halloumi, one of my fav brazilian dishes is grilled/seared cheese with molasses (queijo coalho com melaco). Queijo coalho is a fresh cheese, that you can replace with a lot of cheeses in the “latin” section of your local supermarket bodega (dominican “white cheese” or mexican queso fresco, blanco, or panela). You skewer the cheese and can roast over your grill or sear in a nonstick pan. When brown and melty and better than a toasted marshmallow, you can top it with oregano, molasses or honey, and or garlic sauce (i like all 3, but hubby and baby prefer the honey my FIL collects in Brazil.) You can also get the real thing at brazilian markets in Newark, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and maybe even on 46th St.

  60. I have tomatoes, I have bread, and I have provolone deli cheese in my fridge right now… And thus, I have lunch for tomorrow! Super excited to try this one!

  61. I’ve never been pregnant, but I went through a space of about a month before my wedding when I lost my appetite completely from the stress. The morning after my wedding I was *so* freaking hungry. It felt so good to be back. I can’t imagine doing that for nine months. Congratulations on making it through and welcome back to the land of food love! (Oh, and welcome to that adorable, amazing little new person too!!!!!)

  62. I have never fried cheese…well, not intentionally. There is the oozing cheese from a grilled-cheese sandwich. I am curious about halloumi, but have never found it here in Kansas. Now I have to try frying provolone! It looks delicious on the sandwich and I’m curious to see how it works. BTW, congratulations on your new little one!

  63. Aarthi

    Deb aww on the photo! I remember the squishy days all too well! My twins are 14 months and I think 15 minute recipes sound just about right :)
    Also I have been feeding them your pressure cooked factor risotto and ricotta pancakes regularly. They can’t stand melty cheese but love roasted broccoli and fried rice! Go figure! Didn’t hey get the memo about the kids menu?

  64. Bizness

    I am so relieved to hear that I’m not the only “foodie” who is completely uninterested in food or cooking whilst pregnant. I’ve had the worst morning sickness and am completely uninterested in cooking.

    Can I ask what you were eating? Did you have any easy go-to meals? I’m really struggling. I’ve finally gotten over the “can only eat things not recognizable as food” (ie packaged versions of carbs) now I’m at 16 weeks and am starting to eat some fresh fruit and veg and a little bit of a meat but it’s really hard. Toast and tea is my lifesaver.

    I’m feeling pretty miserable so any suggestions from you or readers are very welcome!

  65. Sirena

    Oh STOP, is that your son’s dimple? Unbelievably adorable! So sweet! And your daughter is precious. Congratulations to you all and enjoy your newfound appetite :-) Thanks for sharing it all!

  66. Woo! I am (technically) due tomorrow and I’m really pleased to hear that foods regain their appeal – I’m looking at you, all-the-chillies. As much as I love silverbeet I would like to be interested in eating something else. Thanks for sharing :)

  67. Maxine

    Here to second (third) Dominican white cheese/frying cheese. It is 1) cheap 2) delicious 3) holds its shape and is easy to fry 3) available at your closest Associated/C-Town/similarly disappointing grocery/well-stocked bodega should you live above 125th or below 14th.

  68. deb

    Bizness — I ate a ton of avocado toast, grapefruits and I got really into roasted green vegetables dressed only with lemon juice and olive oil at the end. Oh, and I ate a ton of mango and pineapple. My advice would be to just figure out what works for you and if that means one week you eat half a watermelon, well, it’s better than half a gallon of ice cream, right?

    Latin cheese suggestions — Thank you. I will look and report back.

    Halloumi at Trader Joes — Will DEFINITELY be picking this up next time, thanks.

    Karen — Thank you. I don’t even remember, but it was fun to surprise him. He’s in camp all day and we had the babysitter pick him up after a regular day and get in a cab to take him to the hospital. He of course figured out why he was there (you can’t get ANYTHING past a kid who reads) but it was still really fun. And the next day, I let him take her for a (guided) walk!

    june2 — Thanks. I love the series on Cup of Jo. And don’t worry, I have lots of help (and even more when I remember to ask). Once Miss Anna is on more of a “schedule” with feeding, I imagine I’ll be better at figuring out what I can do when.

    Marianne — I know, I completely agree. A redesign with a proper normal font size in the works, it just got slowed down, like everything else, because I’m spread a bit thin these days. Try to Cntrl-plus in your browser to bump it up in the meanwhile (that’s what I do with other sites on my MacBook).

    Molly — I had no idea. I’m definitely bummed too.

    P.S. Jacob and I have the same dimple but it’s way cuter on him. :)

  69. Daniela

    Ohhh, I’m from Argentina, and we have something called “provoleta” that may work beautifully for this. It’s made of kneaded provolone (so it behaves like mozzarella), cut in 1/4 in thick discs, with herbs/spices (crushed chile, black pepper, garlic, oregano). Sadly we’re in the middle of winter, so I’ll have to wait 6 months to try this :(

  70. I had just finished a tomato sandwich on rustic bread , when I checked the site and found you back ( too soon?) with a tomato sandwich and those wee tootsies ! Welcome back and more congratulations.

  71. Staci

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, nothing tasted worse than grilled cheese. Which is my all time favorite (especially with slices of tomatoes!). My first food craving after we brought her home from the hospital was a gooey grilled cheese and tomato. I was cured! Thank goodness. It’s funny that it’s the first recipe you shared since bringing home your beautiful daughter. Congrats again.

  72. prinsas

    This is going to be lunch tomorrow! Heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market, fry up some cheese while the soy milk is heating for instant latte. Cuke and sweet onions in pesto on the side. (I’ll pack the mayo on the side and warm to room temp the s’mammy in the micro, and then add the mayo) Bliss. Thanks for the inspiration. S.

  73. Trixie

    That looks really delicious, and I have just bought beautiful Provlone, and even in London we get perfectly gorgeous tomatoes at this time of year. The baby is wonderful, and how exciting. Good Luck.

  74. Dawn Elizabeth Taylor

    Oh, I’ve missed you so much – and your BEAUTIFUL family!!! Yes, blubbering again! I knew I would make the first recipe you came back with – and I shall – quite willingly! Oh but I’ve managed to work my way very well through your DELICIOUS book – enjoying EVERYTHING! Especially delicious Jacob. Now, of course, adorable Anna and delicious Jacob will be in your next book, won’t they…..!!!!!
    With love, Dawn in the Alpujarras, still so hot and sunny, Southern Spain

  75. Valerie

    I’ve been thinking about writing to you about an open face tomato sandwich that I make. Now seems like a good time, since your recipe is almost exactly the same!

    Original family recipe: (my gram called them “gruesomes”)
    english muffin
    tomato slices
    american cheese
    -broil or toaster oven the above
    sprinkle with oregano

    Fancy 21st century hipster version:
    toasted slice of fancy loaf bread
    rub toasted bread vigorously with raw garlic clove
    tomato slices (obviously multicolored heirloom varieties)
    grated cheddar or provolone cheese
    bake until cheese is melted/bubbly/browned (375?)
    sprinkle with oregano

    SO GOOD. (really, the addition of garlic is the most important update.)

    In both cases, be very careful not to burn the roof of your mouth on the hot tomato juices that burst out from under the cheese. (I usually fail at this. Eating with fork and knife helps a little though.)

  76. Mainer

    So glad to receive this post in my inbox this morning…looking forward to trying it! Congratulations! My second child, oldest daughter, Anna, is now 18…savor these years and enjoy time with them in your kitchen; they are some of the best memories I have!!

  77. Dahlink

    First words from our 7-year-old on seeing his baby brother: “He’s cute.” Then “I think we should leave him in the hospital until he’s four.”

  78. Lana

    Perfect timing. I was heading over to a local farmer this afternoon for some gorgorgus heirlooms. Congrats on your daughter. And thanks for all your amazing recipes. Lived in Chelsea NY for 10 years and been in Rehoboth Beach for 25….it was forever until I was able to get Arugula. But Halumi, we have. Thanks!

  79. Marci

    I’m pregnant and this sounded great when I saw it on facebook yesterday. I used tomatoes from my garden and regular old provolone and sourdough from trader joes. It was fantastic!!!!

  80. Mrs C. La Singe

    ah this is lovely.
    in my heart I am welcoming Anna and wishing her much love and good fortune and happiness in her journey through her life. your little boy has a dimple! sweet.

    I love the fried cheese thing. here in CT there’s a restaurant that is most beloved (and even gets “best hamburger” from CT magazine) for it’s quite ordinary frozen hamburgers because they are topped with ..(wait for it)…fried cheese.


    I love the cheese that’s oozed off a cheeseburger and fries on it’s own – I scoop it up with the carmelized meat juices and what I have is so much better than the burger I just made. Luckily I’m married so I get the fried cheesegoo/yummy bits doubled and all mine!

    your sandwich looks beautiful and graceful with it’s lovely heritage tomatoes and that bread and I am a total sucker for provolone! (jealousing) we don’t have bread like that here and I’m prepping the house to sell/move so I’m not baking (or cooking much) (not that my bread ever comes out looking like that).

    double gah.

    Welcome back! I hope you had an easy time of it – not that it matters now…shes here. Lucky you.


  81. Katya

    Dear Deb, Love those cute baby feet! You can find halloumi at Westside Market, on Third ave. and 12th st. Mmmm, tomato sammies are on for dinner tonight!

  82. Celia

    Very tempted to try this tonight, but with halloumi instead. Here in London, for some reason halloumi is both super affordable (less than £1.50 a pack if you’re lucky) and available every from corner shops up. Provolone, on the other hand, can be a bit of a pain to source. Such random differences between cities you’d think would have similar food sensibilities!

  83. Bronwyn

    Amen (in an agnostic way) to “Sometimes I just spend too much time working on a dish and I’m rather sick of it by the time we eat it.” Pretty much every night after cooking dinner I’d rally rather just go and lie down while everyone ate – and I’m not pregnant!

    When I was pregnant I couldn’t even LOOK at a recipe book. I had a subscription to a recipe magazine and to this day those magazines are still in their plastic wrap. My son is 10.

  84. Cla

    Hi, everything in your blog is delicious, but the new baby is such a cute reminder of all that is good with this world. Great name Anna, it’s also the name of my favorite song by The Beatles.

  85. Susan

    This recipe takes me back to being around 10 and reading “Heidi” and what my memory tells me are multiple instances in the book of making delectable fried cheese. And me going down to the kitchen and using one of my mother’s frying pans to try it out for myself. Needless to say, plopping a hunk of cheddar cheese – what we had – into ungreased stainless steel does not have a happy ending! So happy to be able to revisit this childhood memory. Thanks, Deb!

  86. Welcome back into the kitchen and congratulations! Somehow I missed the announcement post originally but guessed it must have happened. She looks adorable. And this sandwich looks great as well! I have been eagerly awaiting what you might make in the post-baby days as I will be in the same position in a month or two. Hopefully we’ll still get some good tomatoes then, as this would be perfect!

  87. deb

    Dahlink — Best first (and second) lines.

    Daniela — Gah, that sounds so delicious. Am I correct in believing that there is a big Italian population in Argentina? I suspect this is where that delicious hybrid came from.

  88. Kelly

    Welcome back Deb!! Again, congratulations on your daughter and your happily expanded family! I definitely have missed your posts and, as always, am thankful for them when they do come along. Tomato sandwiches are my all-time favorite summer sandwich and I can’t wait to try it with fried prov/cheese. Great thinking!

  89. YUM! What a clever & simple idea. Want and need this sandwich ASAP.

    So glad you’ve been able to get your appetite back :)

    And she’s a real cutie – congratulations!

  90. April

    I’m currently navigating through my second pregnancy and i need to eat this right now. i mean it. except for the cheese. the thought of cheese makes me want to puke. but, oh dear mother of the universe am i loving tomatoes, mayo and bread these days!! thank you so much for sharing, and congrats on the little sweet peanut!!

  91. Oh my goodness-yum!!!! I can’t wait to make this. I have been trying to take dishes that have meat, dairy, etc and recreate them. This one will be a challenge because of the provolone but I’m up for it. Also, those colorful tomatoes may be hard to find-too pretty. I’ll have to find a vegan substitute for the cheese but this sandwich looks perfect. If you ever want to check out my recreations!

  92. 4aces

    omg…FRIED CHEESE?? who thinks of these things?? i can’t wait to make a huge mess of this in my kitchen w the beautiful tomatoes that came in my CSA box. thanks and your children are beautiful.

  93. Shelly

    Thank you so much! With a brand new baby daughter myself, you have just saved my lunch. Putting provolone on the shopping list! Please share more of your “1 handed lunches for when I might have 15 minutes” list. Hugs to you!

  94. Meg

    Congratulations – what a beautiful family! I knew I brought home that miche yesterday for a reason – my tomatoes aren’t quite ready but I might try this with an avocado? Cheers!!

  95. Nancy

    Made this today for a quick lunch !! Thank you for the idea !! I bought my cheese cut thick from union market brooklyn and they also had san fran sourdough + heirloom tomatoes this morning. amazing xx

  96. Lu

    Congrats to you and your family! She is absolutely beautiful. Great picture. Much love and happiness to you all. The sandwich is one of my favorites too, any season!

  97. Wendy R.

    So happy for you and your beautiful family! I can totally relate to that feeling of being so thrilled to enjoy your favorite foods again post-pregnancy. I didn’t have much morning sickness, but things I’d once loved (apples, coffee, yogurt, peanut butter…) just seemed gross while I was pregnant. I ate A LOT of turkey sandwiches (I didn’t know I was supposed to avoid cold cuts – oh well) and avocado on bagels. I actually worried more about weight gain after giving birth than during pregnancy because I was so hungry, and everything was delicious!

  98. Stephanie

    The picture of Jacob holding Anna brought about a spontaneous, meditative sigh. So very beautiful.

    And then those tomatoes! Still have to wait a couple more weeks for these in Massachusetts, but I’ll be making it.

    My favorite quick nursing food was an open-faced tomato melt–a slice of whole-grain bread with 1-2 slices of tomato, a little hot salt, and cheddar cheese. Toast in the toaster oven, then lift the cheese and put avocado under it.

    My kids eat “mayonnaise sandwiches” all summer: two slices of whole grain bread, mayo on each slice, a slice of tomato, a slice of cheddar, and sliced cucumber.

  99. I would enjoy eating this now! :) So, could I also do this with any kind of sliced cheese, or should I stick with provolone or something similar? I have plenty of colby jack in my fridge that needs to be eaten by the time we move mid-next-month.

    Additionally, that picture is great. Anna, who I’m sure is keeping you up, is so dang cute. Give her a hug for all of us!

  100. Molly Augs

    I’m 8 months pregnant, and your struggles with food during your pregnancy and your freedom after echo soundly in my head. I live for food. I love to cook, and I can’t touch a damn thing without hating it right now. I feared I would never enjoy food again. Thank you for sharing and letting me know otherwise. The best of luck with your new family member!

  101. Debbie

    Great picture, a joy to read your blog and try all kinds of new things to eat!
    Thanks for so much information with each dish and pictures too! Have a great day!

  102. Ellen Jefferies

    Lovely lovely baby; so tiny!

    But I cringed at the thought of you using that super thin metal turner you recommended on your no stick pan. Come on. What did you really use?

  103. Chantal

    Also another one of your pregnant readers (31 weeks), and also have really identified with your blog lately haha. This looks amazing though! I only want vegetables if they’re raw so this is perfect. Still looking forward to getting back to when food excites me :)

  104. Cassie B

    Delicious! I made this as a quick dinner before my second workout today, because they remind me of the grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches my mom would make me during my high school cross country days – breakfast before every race!

    The only change I made was frying the bread in some butter first, because clearly fried cheese and mayo clearly aren’t fatty enough on their own. (I probably need to stop now before all of the fitness-minded readers become truly disgusted with my choice of workout fuel – but let’s be honest, how many of us use the prospect of Smitten Kitchen treats as our main motivation?)

  105. Elle

    Not sure which I’d rather take a little bite of those adorable tiny Anna toes or that gorgeous sandwich. Congrats and welcome back.

  106. deb

    Ellen — I’ve never, ever used special tools on nonstick. (I find them all so clumsy and thick, anyway.) Nothing sticks! i.e. no scraping needed. I haven’t had a problem with it getting scratched up. Pinky swear.

  107. Daniela

    Hi, Deb! yes, you are correct, lots of italian descendants here. But the provoleta was created 75 years ago in the Rio de la Plata region of Buenos Aires, by an argentinian guy who wanted to eat hot cheese while grilling gargantuan amounts of meat. It spread quickly, and now we riot if there isn’t at least a few before a barbecue.

  108. Oh my Lordy!! Look at those beautiful little feet of hers! And she is just sooo tiny in your son’s arms…what a precious photo <3 I'm so happy you're feeling back to yourself in terms of your appetite…it's so devastating when you lose your taste for favorite foods like that. This tomato and fried provolone sandwich looks SO good. Weirdly, I've never had even a tomato sandwich, fried cheese or not. I love tomatoes so I don't know why this hasn't happened yet. What I do know is that that's going to change because I am making this recipe asap!! What Jennifer Hess is to you, you are to me! I'm always running to my kitchen after your posts! XOXO

  109. Marilyn

    I’ve never commented before but I’ve been happily watching your pregnancy in anticipation of my own and wanted to say congratulations! And I love your blog.

  110. Gail

    Along with everyone else here, I’m so happy for you! I have never even met you, but love reading your blog, and your recipes always work, and are usually what I’m in the mood to eat (how is that possible? I honestly don’t know!).

    Love the picture of a your son holding your daughter (I loved using those out for the first time, too – like, “my husband” right after I got married.. :)). The chub, the dimple, the feet! Many happinesses…

  111. Love the simple creativity of this recipe!

    On an unrelated note, how do you like that steel olive oil can? I just ordered the same exact one, but I can’t stand the feel of the handle (too short or too wide or something). Do you forget about it over time? (Or maybe I’m just being crazy and no one else has this problem…).

    I’m sure you’re busy but just wanted to try asking! Enjoy the little bundle :)

    1. deb

      amanda — I like it: the drizzle, the ability to buy better olive oil in big cans inexpensively. I don’t like: the lid being surprisingly tight and I wish I’d splurged on the bigger size. I’ve only had it a month, a month I haven’t cooked much during, but the handle hasn’t bothered me. It looks different in the bigger size? And thank you.

  112. I am crying like a baby, what a wonderful picture of Jacob holding Anna! Lots of history behind my crying (Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital) but I am soooo very happy for you all. Love the simplicity of the beautiful tomato & fried (yeah!) provolone sandwich, a definite keeper. Lots of love, N xx

    But one important thing that bugs every archaelogist: a vomitorium is an exit or entrance e.g. into an arena like the Colosseum in Rome – nothing to do with the actual vomiting (although it is a popular and very funny misconception).

  113. Recipes etc. is all fine, eating is something one does anyway, but what about posting pics of Anna all day, every day and writing about her magnificence at least three times a day? It is most unfair that you aren’t doing that Deb! I feel deprived!

  114. Sarah

    Just gave this a whirl! I used mozz instead of provolone. I went to the deli to get thick slices, and use two, because why not. I also added some fresh basil. The best dinner on a hot summer night!

  115. Gerrie

    Hubby just made this with our amazing heirloom tomatoes growing in the backyard. We actually don’t have much of a yard this being Jersey City but somehow Jersey really knows how to grow great tomatoes. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. We never go wrong if it’s from Smitten!

  116. Susan

    Wonderful summer lunch – made this yesterday and used homemade olive and rosemary bread that I grilled first – big hit!

  117. Brittany W

    I’m extremely impressed that you had time to type this post up, let alone cook anything. Do you type one handed at 4 AM? Congratulations on the baby!

  118. Congratulations! I want to eat her feet! Love the picture of her brother holding her, it almost makes me forget the pictures and mouthwatering tomato sandwich recipe. You are too good to us out here by posting only a week in. Thank you.

  119. stef

    I wanted to do quite a few slices of provolone so I heated my large cast iron pizza pan in the oven at 375, placed the cheese on it and baked it to a deep golden brown. I took it out and let it cool a bit – and it lifted easily in nice neat rounds. Handy for large amounts.

  120. Oh, those tomatoes look so delicious!! Since my tomato plants are being extra generous lately, I’m making this soon…alas, my bread will have to be gluten free, but I’m sure it will still be tasty! Thanks for another great idea!

  121. Jill

    I tried it, the provolone melted into liquid, i thought, but then i was able to flip it. stayed together surprisingly well. yummy! I added basil, but bacon would be yummy too.

  122. triza

    Congratulations; long time follower. I just had it to comment because this is a phenomenon that no one really talks about. My mother had with me me and I had it with my daughter. I am the 7th of 8 children; good old Catholic family. She had to prepare dinner for her hard working husband and 6 children but once she cooked it, smelled it she could not eat it. Our neighbor Joyce (no children) would take my mother out to dinner every night (seriously). My mother swears this is why I always enjoyed going out to dinner. And then, 23 years later it happened to me with my first and only child. Early in my fifth month; we were both military stationed in Washington state. I usually cooked most evenings and this one evening; I had cooked these beautiful steaks, great vegetables and smashed potatoes. We prepared our plates and sat down; I burst into tears and said I can’t eat this. I was little hysterical and my husband didn’t know what to say. He wrapped up all the food and said he would take it to the unit; we went out to dinner or carried out until my 39th week when my mother came to town. She cooked and I was OK.

  123. nobleknits2

    The photo of two munchkins together is amazing – and 12 year old budding chef at this house will be all over the fried cheese – it might even persuade him to eat tomato! :)

  124. April P

    Delish sandwich–perfect for summer lunch with tomatoes fresh from the farmers market! Congratulations on your beautiful new baby. Best wishes for happy days and good sleeps ahead :-)

  125. Beautiful! Daughter. Sandwich. Inspiration. Can’t wait to perfect this cheese frying technique. Expecting twins in just a couple months – this could very well be a desperate go-to quickie. Thanks!

  126. Elisabeth

    My whole third pregnancy was just a giant food aversion (the first two were not). It’s been fun to come back to cooking and actually enjoy eating what I make over the last six months :) The fried provolone looks amazing!

  127. Amy P

    You’re making me so anxious to meet my third baby (a girl, arriving in October)! Anna is tied with another name for us and seeing your Anna is helping it win the arm wrestle ;)

  128. Bea

    Congratulations for your wonderful baby Anna!

    And fried provolone is wonderful. Only downside, my own six-year-old Anna can’t stand the smell.

  129. Beth

    Orwasher’s on E. 78th street also sells a wonderful whole wheat sourdough bread like that!

    Can’t wait to try this sandwich! And congratulations on the baby!

  130. Gayley

    Just prepared this for a tasty lunch at our vacation home high in the Rocky Mountains in Aspen. Had a lot of trepidation about frying the cheese, but it was actually not at all hard. The secret: a very hot skillet and a nimble spatula. Served with the sweetest local butter and sugar corn on the cob. I highly recommend this for a lovely and light summer meal. Thanks again, Deb!

  131. Anna, I already like what you’re bringing to this world. Even though I eat tomato-mayo sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday this time of year, I’d yet to fry some cheese for it, and now I can’t imagine life without. Also, this recipe, and the fact that all I really want to eat these days is good bread/toast with the freshest vegetables piled on top, makes me think maybe the archives need a SK food group “Things on top of toast”. It doesn’t have the most appetizing ring, I know.

  132. Kristine

    I made this for lunch… I have a 3 year old and was able to make it and scarf it down while he watched his favorite show. I actually don’t even like raw tomatoes but loved them with the fried cheese, which was a complete blob, but you’re right, it did not change the flavor. I think I ate half a pound. I’m not a fan of mayo, so I just did olive oil, salt and pepper with cheese and tomatoes and it was deeeee-lish! Gotta run, 3 year old’s show is over!

  133. Amy P

    @NY Chef – some of us having been coming here for the rambling as much as the recipes for eight years now :) Some blogs are horrendously verbose, but on this one I don’t mind in the least.

  134. Ivy

    i think that the eating in the first month postpartum is some of the best eating we get to do in our whole lives. The oxytocin, the exhaustion, the making of copious amounts of milk, it just makes food taste so great. And if you are lucky, friends are bringing you the best things they know how to cook and you get to eat it while looking at your beautiful new babe.
    Thanks for the sandwich idea, I’m going to make it and enjoy it with the passion of a new mom!

  135. Mimi (another one)

    NY Chef – if Deb stopped writing her “mind-numbing text”, I’d stop visiting this blog.
    Sheesh, some people…

  136. Congrats on your new baby! The photo of your son holding her is too precious :)

    I have a feeling the fried cheese would also work without the initial coating of oil in a nonstick pan. I shall have to try it!

  137. JP

    @NY Chef- Just go to the recipe if you don’t enjoy the text…anyone could figure that out! But for us that enjoy hearing about Deb and her life…well, we will go on doing just that. What makes this particular blog so interesting is Deb, her personality and her ability to put that down in writing for each of us, and the recipe, of course. So as Ann Landers used to say: “Kwitcher beefin!”.

  138. Sara

    Congrats on the new family addition!
    Wanted to write that I just made this with a different cheese (couldn’t find a good quality provolone and wanted to try something with sheep or milk’s cheese for a happier digesting situation). I used a Spanish Idiazabal cheese, which was unbelievably delicious. I made this is a cast-iron pan, and found using thicker slices of cheese and letting it get really brown on the first side led to more successful flipping and in-tact cheese. But all results were wonderful! Thank you, Deb, for yet another flexible and easy recipe.

  139. Hallie

    This was fantastic! Didn’t think a tomato sandwich could be improved upon but it was!! I used an aged provolone and I was actually shocked at how easy it was to flip- I expected a melty mess. Thanks for the great recipe and I, for one, adore writing on your site- I wish all your posts were twice the length.

  140. Heyya…I have a feeling the fried cheese would also work without the initial coating of oil in a nonstick pan. I shall have to try it!Additionally, that picture is great. Anna, who I’m sure is keeping you up, is so dang cute. Give her a hug for all of us!

  141. Lee Ann

    I made this for dinner tonight, it was amazing! I mixed balsamic vinegar with my mayo, that just added to the awesome. I just got my first Cherokee Purple tomato out of the garden, and was wondering what to do with it. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of frying Provolone. Thank you for the idea! Congrats on the family expansion, your kids are adorable!

  142. I’ve now eaten this for 3 meals in a row and both love and hate that, thanks to you, I now know the magic of fried cheese. I’m in so much trouble…

  143. Em

    Oh, that last picture is just heart-melting. Congratulations! Welcome, little Anna! We, too, have an Anna, so I am highly biased in favor of that name and its bearers.

    Also, I hear you on the food aversion. When I’m pregnant, I’m revolted by food for nine months. Then starting about two hours after giving birth I want to eat everything in the world. After my first was born, I ate four loaves of challah in one week.

  144. Margi

    Is this ever good! I made it with provolone a few days ago, and have made it three more times since then, with provolone and also with a Mexican grilling cheese with jalapeno — yum. Also added a thick slice of beef bacon to the mix for dinner last night. I think I will eat this at least every other day for the rest of tomato season. Thanks!

  145. Shannon

    Thanks so much for posting about your morning sickness! I’m 35 weeks along and have had it since week 5…getting a bit discouraged, but heartened to hear that your appetite and desire to cook have returned postpartum! I’ll just have to stick it out with pizza, macaroni and cheese, and other carb-y things for the next few weeks until baby arrives. Thank you!!

  146. Alison

    This was SO DANG GOOD. My slices were less than 1/4 inch and wouldn’t flip at all, but once I stacked two it worked perfectly. I think there is a lot of fried cheese in my future.

  147. That picture of Jacob and Anna is the most darling newborn/sibling photo I’ve seen. You really know how to bake ’em!

    And this… this will persuade even my husband to like tomatoes.

  148. I found this recipe and was determined to make it over the weekend, but only wanted to make one stop at the farmers market for ingredients. Heirloom tomatoes, check. Sourdough, check. Already had tessemae’s mayo. And I grabbed some local burrata cheese to fry instead of provolone.

    YUM YUM YUM, I will definitely make this again!

  149. Lydia

    Sorry to comment on this thread. I’m making your cheddar swirl buns and was wondering if they could sit in the refrigerator once the buns are set?
    I love your book and blog so much!!!

    Thanks so much,

  150. Liz

    Summer tomatoes and any cheese … on toast (my own homemade) is one of my favorite things.

    But, today, and it is my birthday (a zero-ending birthday: 60!!!) – I saw Halloumi at my grocery. And I live in Northwest Montana. We must have a lot of cooks as the cheese counter at my grocery now has all of the “Mexican” cheeses as well as a huge variety of all manner of specialty cheeses. As you said, the small brick of Halloumi was spendy at 11.59 but it is my birthday and I remembered this recipe and Oh My …so worth the 11.59!! Thanks for the intro to something new.

    That whole “never go grocery shopping hungry thing” … even worse for a food and cooking lover to go shopping on her birthday :) !

  151. Liz

    I was so excited to report on my finding the Halloumi cheese, I forgot… those feet !!! and that dimple !!! I’ve returned to this post many times just to look at that photo and smile.

  152. Sylvia

    Congratulations! I’ve got a 4-month-old over here, myself. Our tomatoes are ready now so I’m making this tonight with halloumi. Anyone with leftover halloumi and tomatoes after making this recipe–balsamic crema also turns them into a (slightly different) delicious sandwich.

  153. Rita Gorra

    My first post! Making Halloumi cheese is pretty easy. I just took a class on cheesemaking, and you dont need any starters or aging for this. Now that I finally got some great tomatoes, I will make the cheese tonight and use up my bounty! Thank you for a great cookbook, I try to keep mine under 40, and yours is one of my faves.

  154. OMG. I finally tried this sandwich with tomatoes from my garden and it was unbelievable. I didn’t have any provolone, so I used some leftover Manchego that no one in my family was eating but me and it worked perfectly. I used a cast iron pan with a little olive oil and it was pretty easy to flip. I wonder if drier cheeses work better than gooey ones? I don’t know but now I feel like I have to experiment with every cheese I’ve ever eaten. Thanks, Deb!

  155. Rebecca

    “blasphemous dairy bacon” (@Judith) is a great description for my new favorite sandwich that I cannot. stop. making. I always come to this site for my next idea and just when I think it can’t get better…this! Lovelovelove :)

  156. I just got news of an angel going to make its presence felt in your life! Get ready for laughter, big noise and lots of hugs!.Congrats for newly baby born both of them look so cute.Thank for sharing this post…… :) :)

  157. How did I get to be this old before making tomato open-face sandwiches?

    Because mayo has MSG, which makes our dreams violent, we toast and butter the bread, heap on the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper……..EVERY day we eat this at least once and swoon over it as if we never ate anything better. We skip the cheese because of calories, and toast the bread so it doesn’t get soggy from our very juicy tomatoes. The ONLY time we’ve ever altered one of your recipes.

  158. C

    Trader Joe’s has halloumi in the spring/early summer. I got some about 2 weeks ago. No idea why it’s “seasonal” like that, but I think it was maybe $6 for 7 oz. The expiration date is in 2017 (summer, as I recall). I tried during tomato season last year but was out of luck, so it may be gone by now, but something to keep in mind.

  159. Karen P.

    For the first time ever, I’ve been growing heirloom Cherokee purple tomatoes this Summer. Promised my husband we’d celebrate with the first few picked by having BLT’s. BUT THIS RECIPE just sold me! Will report back once devoured! I am considering replacing mayo w/butter. Will buy yummiest-looking bread at Whole Foods. Thanks, Deb!!

  160. Alice Kintisch

    Just finished eating this super-duper sandwich! Used tomatoes from my garden, whole grain bakery roll (toasted it first), grocery store provolone. Couldn’t be beat! The cheese was a mess, but I am encouraged that it might look better tomorrow, when I shall happily make this again! (and ate it with cucumber salad made from cukes from my garden)

  161. Erika

    This is the highest calling for the perfect summer tomato. I made it as written for lunch (with Kewpie/Japanese mayo), and it was perfect, messy flip and all. And it has whole grains, dairy, and vegetables (especially if you really pile on the tomatoes), so it totally passes the “legitimate meal” test.

  162. I get facebook notifications from all of the food bloggers with all their new recipes. I bookmark them and come back to them later when I’m able to get ahold of all the needed ingredients and want to try it. It’s funny-maybe rude-but I don’t always read their blog post about what it reminds them of or what is going on in their life at that time…but I have to say I enjoyed your rather down to earth, if not self deprecating story. I’m sure that little Bundle is getting big by now and probably walking around and getting into everything…what a wonderful time of life for you all.

  163. You can add something to it like a drizzle of Glaze (balsamic reduction), thinly sliced mango and fresh herb such as basil… I make a salad of these with tomatoes and leave the toasted bread aside. Delishhhh!

  164. Katrina

    Wow! This amazing, yet simple, sandwich (or tartine) is worth every splatter of olive oil on your backsplash. My cooktop was a disaster, but I could have cared less as I bit into to the chewy, umami centric fried Provolone complemented so beautifully by local heirloom tomatoes!
    I asked the cheesemonger to slice the provolone extra thick (though not quite 1/4 inch) and the pieces that I cooked in the non-stick skillet turned out very well…I was even able to squash them a bit so that they were the exact shape of the bread. However, feeling overconfident, I tried to simultaneously cook a couple of pieces in another (not non-stick) pan…big mistake requiring hours of soaking and scrubbing!
    Definitely a recipe that will on repeat here. Thanks, Deb :)

  165. Audrey

    This was amazing. No crying baby but it was perfect when I got home from work at 8PM starving. Got thicker cheese at the deli counter. It would ooze as it melted and I would flip it and it would caramelize more and then it would ooze and I would flip it again. Have had it for dinner 3 times in the past week.

  166. Kate

    I made this today! So delicious and satisfying. I had some fresh basil on the counter and put a few leaves on top. I have a favorite new summer sandwich, thank you!

  167. Stephanie Faulkner

    I’ve been frying provolone (single thin slice is best) for about a decade or more now. I use it in place of bacon! Fried slowly in a cast iron pan, no added oil, it gets brown and lacy on one side and then you flip it with a fish spatula and do the same to the other. No soft bits. Crunchy, smokey, delicious. Tomato sandwiches need this!

  168. Is your Quick Recipes for Sleepy Times available somewhere on the site? I have a 4 week old (second child, daughter, whose delivery brought an end to my 9-month long nausea) and would love to eat things I have cooked/assembled? This recipe looks great. If there are others you could steer me to (the avocado toast is already a favorite) I would be bleary-eyed and deeply grateful :)

    1. deb

      My Quick Recipes for Sleepy Times when the Sleepy Times Are Caused By a 4-Week Old is to go very easy on yourself! It’s too soon for cooking expectations. It literally took me about 2.5 weeks just to make these toasts. Recipes: Look here for starters (spaghetti limone, aglio olio beans) then here.

  169. Rebecca

    So sorry to hear about the lack of affordable halloumi cheese. We’re lucky to have a small Mediterranean / middle eastern grocery nearby that sells 2 to 3 brands of halloumi all for ~$5 a block. A steal! In the summer, we make halloumi following an Epicurus’s recipe — basically make a dressing of chopped fresh mint, cumin and olive oil. Marinate halloumi in it, then grill and serve with sliced tomato and pita. Yum! Even the kiddos scarf it up.

    If you’re ever driving through central Jersey, bring a cooler and check the store out. They also have bulk spices, beans, canned/pickled goods, desserts… it’s a gem! Be prepared to feel kind of clueless (unless you can read the Greek / Arabic labels!) but it’s so fun to explore! It’s called Afandina in Rt 18 in East Brunswick (08816). No, I am not connected to it or the owners — I just think it special and worth sharing. Bonus: your savings on halloumi blocks will almost cover the NY/NJ tolls – almost. LOL!

  170. Alyson

    I believe this sandwich was what first introduced me to Smitten Kitchen several years ago and it has become a summer sandwich that I crave ever since. It gets even better when my garden tomatoes are ready but delicious even with store bought. I recommend always keeping a supply of thick sliced provolone so you have it at the ready all summer!

  171. Emily

    This is August in a sandwich. Used beautiful tomatoes from the farmer’s market. Did a bit of experimenting with the cheese: it’s important to wait for the browning so you get crunchy lacy bits, otherwise the provolone is tough.

  172. Kim

    This was a perfect summer dinner. Truly more than the sum of its parts and beautifully highlighting August tomatoes. Will make again.

  173. Linda

    Hmmm, not sure how you got a melty center on your cheese. Mine spread out, bubbled, eventually browned and was fairly tough and chewy. I used 2 slices because they were thin but I’m wondering if I should have used more, or cooked it at a different level of heat. It took quite a while too, so I’m wondering if medium-low (or what my stove considers medium-low) wasn’t right. It was ok, not really worth the time it took, but I think it was supposed to come out a little differently and I’m not sure how.

    1. deb

      It could be the cheese itself — I find different brands melt differently, but haven’t found a favorite — but you might want a thicker stack, too.

  174. Cricket

    Hi Deb,
    Congrats on your beautiful baby girl! I wanted to add that I buy halloumi at Trader Joe’s (I go the one in NYC on the UWS). It may not be a tiptop quality one, but it works really well for several of the recipes I have been making this summer that call for fried halloumi. And yes, I think it would be great for this sandwich, but I’m still going to make it with provolone first!

  175. lilyp

    I did this today and here is my #lifehack for the cheese — bake it in the oven on a silicon mat wiped with olive oil instead of frying it. Then you can let it cool and re-solidify a bit on the sheet before you try to move it and end up squishing it. I did about 10-15 minutes at 350, checking for color every few minutes, but I think next time I would go a little cooler/longer and let it get browner. Stole the technique from the excellent cookbook Umami Bomb but it worked great here! Very delicious sandwich.

  176. Susan

    How did I miss this? This is practically my favorite thing to do with tomatoes. I’m not a mayo fan, but it makes Love with fresh tomatoes! It crisps the edges of the bread and helps the tomatoes sweat those sweet juices. I only pepper the tomatoes and place whatever cheese I use, grated, over them and place it it under the broiler. Yesssss,,,Yesss,, yes!

  177. Cara

    This is delicious!! I made this last night for dinner, then added an egg on top of the cheese while it was frying when I made it again for breakfast the next morning.