Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Breakfast: Tomato Milk Gravy Sandwich

I would be hard pressed to find a more southern recipe than this one. This recipe originally came from the kitchen of “Miz Evelina Thompson” of Mississippi via the “A Taste of the Gulf Coast” cook book into my home. I had mail ordered this book along with some other cook books and upon seeing the tropical cliché design of the jacket and pages I was put off and didn’t give it second glance. Well over a year later I reopened this book desperate for a new fish dish and started reading the recipies. As it turns out this book is a treasure of southern cooking, well edited family recipes assembled by Jessie Tirsch. What still disturbs me is the design of the book does in no manner of speaking reflect the personal and regional nature of the recipes. For example, the tomato gravy recipe presented here speaks volumes of Miz Eveline Thompson. When you're well seated and enjoying this dish, try closing your eyes and you may see Miz Eveline standing by her stove carefully turning the bacon.

Open-Faced Fried Tomato and Bacon Sandwiches with Tomato Milk Gravy
Makes four servings
  • 12 strips of bacon
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium ripe but firm tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 8 slices white bread ( home made if you have some)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

    1) Fry the bacon in a large, cast-iron skillet until it's crisp and brown. Remove the bacon, reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, and wipe the excess grease out of the skillet. Drain the bacon on paper towels and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
    2) In a shallow bowl combine 3/4 cup flour with 3 tablespoons basil, the salt, and pepper. Cut the tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices.
    3) Return the reserved bacon fat to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons (olive oil) oil and heat until the fat is sizzling hot, but not smoking. Quickly dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture. Fry the tomato slices in
    batches until they are evenly brown but not falling apart, about 5 minutes on one side, then 2 to 3 minutes on the other. Take the skillet off the heat, remove the tomatoes, and drain on paper towels. *Set aside 6 of the softest tomato slices, and keep the rest warm. Start toasting the bread.
    (*Cooks Note: After frying all the tomatoes set aside 6, the falling apart ones are good for this)
    4) Place skillet back over medium heat and add remaining oil ( 1 tablespoon olive oil) Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon
    flour and whisk for 1 minute, taking care not to let the flour bum. Reduce heat to lowand gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Add the 6 soft tomato slices, one at a time, and whisk to liquefy the tomato after each addition.(Cooks note: I do this with a fork)
    5) To assemble, place 2 slices of toast on each plate. Cover the bread with 3 strips of bacon. Arrange tomato slices on top and spoon some of the sauce over all. Garnish with the remaining 3 tablespoons basil and serve, or serve with poached or fried eggs for a hearty meal.

    Sally said...

    OMG that looks good! I would never have thought of such a dish. Going to have to try this tho. I agree about book jackets. They should definitely reflect what's inside. I'm glad you decided to pick it back up.

    Tanna said...

    Hooray...Once in a great while when the stars are in complet alignment, I garnish! Thanks so much for the beautiful postcard. Hope yours arrives soon.
    Very interesting Tomato Milk Gravy Sandwich...Just shows you again what your mother tried to teach: You can't judge a book by it's cover!! Isn't that just like a mom.

    polly + dieter said...

    the morning dieter made this was a special event. he was thinking about it for days and then the right morning presented itself. but then every breakfast should be special don't you think?

    annulla said...

    I've never eaten -- or even imagined -- a dish like this. It sounds delicious.

    Anonymous said...

    We were living in Nashville in 1990 and one of our neighbors taught me how to make tomato gravy. It was the first time I had ever even heard of it. She told me her son's favorite breakfast dish was tomato gravy on hot biscuits. She said the next time he is home, I will call you to come over and have breakfast with us and I will teach you how to make it. She did and I very much enjoyed having breakfast with Mrs. Boone and her son, Pat.


    polly + dieter said...

    this was indeed tasty. breakfast can be more than just a bowl of cereal. why not take the time to make tomato gravy? i imagine it would be great over biscuits too. but then biscuits can be good by themselves too.