TomatoMania- Tomato Ampersand Basil

TomatoMania & SippitySup. Peanut Butter & Jelly. Milk & Cookies. Rice & Beans. Eggs & Bacon… Tomato & Basil.

Some phrases are just meant to go together. That’s what the ampersand was invented for.

For today’s TomatoMania I am going to take my favorite of the ampersand food pairings, Tomato & Basil, and create a sandwich. A Grilled Cheese Sandwich. With Gouda. Melted Gouda. I have always said that a grilled cheese sandwich was the way to any man’s heart and can save all damsels from distress!

Because everyone loves a grilled cheese sandwich– even vegans. Why else would they invent “fake” foods and give them cheesy names? Tofutti, Cheezly and Scheese?? Aren’t those name just too precious?… I think the zany names are a clue. Vegans know they are missing out on something special when it comes to a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s the only way to explain those names…


grilled cheeseThe wonderful thing about this sandwich is you don’t need any special skills to make it.

Bread. Butter. Gouda. Tomatoes & Basil. Don’t forget the ampersand. It’s there to remind you what a natural pairing this really is. Call it a culinary shortcut.

I love to make these kind of grilled cheese sandwiches outside on the grill. You don’t have to, especially if you are lucky enough to have a great panini press. I used Gouda cheese, but any cheese that melts easily will be a great choice.

Including Tofutti, Cheezly and Scheese.Because as long as you remember the ampersand pairing of tomato and basil then this magical combination of tastes, textures and temperatures practically makes itself.


Grilled Tomato and Basil Sandwiches with Gouda




  • 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 sli good quality sour dough bread
  • 12 oz gouda cheese
  • 6 sli large ripe tomato (1 1/2 slice per sandwich)
  • 1 bn fresh basil

melted gouda grilled cheese sandwichInstructions

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Arrange 4 slices, buttered side down, on clean work surface. Divide cheese evenly among 4 slices of bread. Arrange tomato slices over cheese, cutting slices in half to fit if necessary. Scatter basil leaves over tomatoes. Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up.

Place sandwiches on a medium-hot grill, off direct heat. Cook until bread is golden and cheese is beginning to melt, about 4 minutes depending on heat of grill.

Turn sandwiches over, and continue grilling until bread is golden and cheese is completely melted. Move to a slightly cooler part of the grill to melt if bread is darkening too much.


Greg Henry