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Half a Loaf Is Better With Tomato

July 11, 1996|BEV BENNETT

Crusty yeast breads, as lovingly crafted as the ceramic pieces one sees at art fairs, are having an effect on meals.

Anyone fortunate enough to live near an artisan bakery develops the daily bread habit. Every day begins with a fresh country bread, thickly sliced and slathered with jam, or perhaps lunch is a simple feast of cheese and a salad with enough bread to soak up the vinaigrette.

Unfortunately, even bread-loving twosomes may find themselves with half a loaf at the end of the day. The solution is make a two-fisted grilled sandwich using any leftover bread. A sandwich in which both the wrapper and the filling are interesting is doubly pleasurable. And don't worry if the bread isn't at the height of freshness--it's just right for a grilled sandwich and will soak up less butter during cooking.

The delicious sandwich that follows should be made only during the summer, when the garden is full of ripe tomatoes and basil leaves are as big as the palm of your hand. Accompany it with Jicama Salad with its pleasant bite of jalapen~os and chili powder.

Bennett is the author of four cookbooks, including the award-winning "Dinner for Two" (Barron's).

GRILLED TOMATO, CHEESE AND PESTO SANDWICH

2 tablespoons pesto, either prepared or homemade

4 slices crusty, rustic white bread

2 slices Muenster cheese

2 slices provolone cheese

6 basil leaves

1 large tomato, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

Spread pesto on 2 slices bread. Top each with 1 slice Muenster and 1 slice provolone cheese. Arrange 3 basil leaves and half the tomato slices on top of each. Cover with 2 plain bread slices.

Heat butter in medium skillet. Gently arrange sandwiches in skillet. Cover and cook over low-medium heat 5 minutes. Turn sandwiches over. Cover again and cook 3 minutes longer or until cheese melts and bread is golden. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

470 calories; 734 mg sodium; 56 mg cholesterol; 35 grams fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 0.50 gram fiber.

JICAMA SALAD

1 small to medium jicama, peeled and cut into 1/2x2-inch sticks

2 teaspoons minced jalapen~o (1 chile)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced, slices quartered

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4 teaspoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons honey

Grated peel of 1 lemon

Salt

Combine jicama, jalapeno chile and onion in salad bowl. Stir together chili powder, lemon juice and honey in small cup. Pour over salad. Sprinkle with grated lemon peel. Season with salt to taste. Toss gently but well. If desired, set aside 15 minutes for flavors to blend.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

96 calories; 161 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.21 grams fiber.

The delicious sandwich that follows should be made only during the summer, when the garden is full of ripe tomatoes and basil leaves are as big as the palm of your hand. Accompany it with Jicama Salad with its pleasant bite of jalapenos and chili powder.

Bennett is the author of four cookbooks, including the award-winning "Dinner for Two" (Baron's).

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