For A Tomato Sandwich With Some Crunch, Let Your Bread Stale Overnight

Few people intentionally let bread go stale. Usually, stale bread is an accidental and unwanted result of forgetfulness. There's a reason there are so many articles out there on the different ways to repurpose stale bread so you don't have to throw it away, such as making croutons, bread crumbs, or French toast with it. Leave it to James Beard Award-winning chef Nina Compton, owner-chef of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans, runner-up on Season 11 of "Top Chef," and someone who's not afraid to pair shellfish with cheese, to find a good use for stale bread and provide an upgrade to a classic sandwich at the same time.

As Compton explained to Time Out, "If I know I'm going to have a tomato sandwich tomorrow, sometimes I will leave the white bread out overnight to stale up a little. Gives it a little more texture." Adding extra texture in the form of crunch helps to provide contrast and complexity to an otherwise simple sandwich.

To crunch or not to crunch

The beauty of a tomato sandwich is in the simplicity of its ingredients: bread, tomatoes, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Where there tends to be some disagreement is on the bread. While tomato sandwich purists (especially those hailing from the South) will insist on only using plain soft bread, others prefer to have their bread toasted, to provide a bit of textural contrast to the juicy tomatoes and creamy mayo. If you're in the latter group, then you'll want to try out Compton's stale bread trick and leave a few slices of your preferred style of bread out overnight (unless you've already accidentally ended up with stale bread). If the stale bread isn't firm enough for your liking, you can always toast it for extra crunch.

As an added benefit, using stale bread for your tomato sandwich means you're less likely to end up with a soggy sandwich that's difficult to eat, and less likely to end up with tomato juice running everywhere. To help guarantee a mess-free tomato sandwich, be sure to sprinkle a bit of salt on your tomato slices before adding them to your sandwich. Not only will the salt draw out extra moisture from the tomato, it will really bring out the flavor of the tomato as well.