Tomato & Basil Tea Sandwiches

My culinary friend, Ruth, served these tiny tomato sandwiches for a fundraiser we threw together years ago. I never forgot how good they were – and how elegant they came together with so few ingredients.

Without knowing at the time, Ruth made two good points about entertaining and cooking through this most simple dish.  She caters events, so she knows some secrets to conserving time. She made the mayo, cut the bread and marinated the tomatoes the night before. We just assembled right before guests arrived. (This is also a great project for awkward people who show up early to parties.) She also demonstrated that flavor can be added to a dish without being an “actual ingredient”. Ruth used onion to add flavor to the tomatoes but didn’t include them on the sandwiches. Everyone likes onion flavor but doesn’t want to bite into a secret raw onion at a cocktail party! Great idea!

Now that all her secrets are on the world wide web, here is her recipe. Thanks Ruth!

Ruth’s Tomato & Basil Tea Sandwiches


  • 1 loaf thinly sliced white bread (Pepperidge Farm)
  • 6 or 7 roma tomatoes
  • one half small yellow onion
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Assembly: The night before, slice the tomatoes and combine with sliced onion. Season with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Marinate overnight. Using a food processor, mince half the fresh basil and garlic clove. Stir in mayo and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The next day, cut the white bread using a biscuit cutter about the same diameter of the roma tomatoes. Smear both sides with mayo and top with tomato (discard onion) and a fresh basil leave. Serve immediately.

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