I know I go against the tide when I say that summer is my least favorite season in the South. It’s just too blamed hot for this old girl. Give me the cool, crisp days of October any time.

But since I was born and raised in the South and have always lived in Southern states – Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana – I’ve had to adjust and adapt to the sweltering heat.

Lesson No. 1 is to cook indoors as little as possible. This means hubby and son get to show off their outdoor grilling skills as often as they like. But if the oven or stove is necessary, I try to get that out of the way early in the day, when it’s cooler (is 89 degrees really considered cool?).

I have found no-cook sandwiches are a perfectly acceptable – and delicious – summer offering. Tuna salad and chicken salad are staples and nothing beats store-roasted chicken with crisp lettuce, good mayonnaise and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Last week, I found this recipe for a no-cook sandwich that incorporates some of our favorite flavors – summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, Mozzarella and avocado – and makes for a perfect meatless Monday.


4 thick slices good sourdough or artisan bread

1 medium avocado, halved and pitted

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe tomato, cut in slices, then slices cut half

4 thick slices whole-milk Mozzarella cheese

6 to 8 fresh basil leaves

Lightly toast the bread. Meanwhile, smash the pitted avocado with a little salt and pepper. Spread a thick layer of smashed avocado on two pieces of the warm bread. Place two slices of cheese, two to three basil leaves, and some of the tomato slices on top. Cover with the remaining slices of warm bread and cut in half. Serves 2.

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