I mentioned the other day that I was planning on serving my homemade bagels with chicken or tuna salad but I ended up making Italian style open-faced sandwiches with them instead.
I’ve been making this recipe for years (starting when I went away to college and had to fend for myself) and it’s one of those easy, no-fuss recipes when you don’t know what to make and don’t want to do anything complicated. It’s one of my go-to, lazy day recipes like grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s just as simple to make.
I’m pretty sure I got the original recipe from either the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook or the Family Circle cookbook.
The recipe requires sandwich bread, fresh tomato, Italian dressing, mozzarella, and basil. It’s like a Pizza Margherita but with a tang.
I usually use dense, hearty pieces of bread to make these sandwiches but bagels are great substitutes. Supermarket white sandwich bread doesn’t usually hold up so well in this recipe; it tends to be too soft and too absorbent, and it’ll get soggy and fall apart. You really want a good quality bread for this.
In a 350 degree oven, toast the bread until it’s golden in order to dry the surface of the bread out. Then lightly baste the bread with some Italian dressing. This will impart a garlic-y, zesty flavor to the toast. You want to use enough dressing for flavor but not too much because you don’t want the bread to get soggy. Continue to bake the bread for a few more minutes to dry the surface of the bread out again. Afterward, add some thin slices of tomato to each slice of bread. Feel free to baste the tomatoes with a little extra Italian dressing if you want but remember not too much. Top all of that with some basil and mozzarella cheese. Then bake (or broil) everything until the cheese melts and gets a little brown on top.
Feel free to play around with the recipe. I’m sure different types of bread, cheese, dressing, herb, or veggie combinations would be tasty, too.