For many Southerners, nothing is better on a hot afternoon than juicy slices of perfectly ripe tomato layered with Duke’s mayonnaise and a pinch of salt and pepper between two slices of white bread. Chef Mason Hereford—author of a recently released New York Times best-selling cookbook and the owner of the New Orleans restaurants Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine—couldn’t agree more; but to him, the classic summer staple deserves a slight twist.
“Imagine a tomato sandwich you would make at your house, and then dial everything up to ten,” Hereford says. “Every ingredient that we add to it, we try to amplify the flavor the most that we can. The idea is to make sure everything there has a moment in the spotlight that is your palate.” And with a hefty shake of sunflower seeds, a handful of fresh-picked dill, and a bunch of basil, all topped with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, the dish does just that.
This inventive spin on a traditional Southern dish is just one of many that Hereford includes in Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans, along with the likes of the Grand Slam McMuffin breakfast sandwich, Mom’s Famous Burnt Tomatoes dish, and Molly’s Biscuits. The recipes reflect Hereford’s own philosophy as a chef: to prioritize enjoying the cooking process and having fun above all else. “Whether that means choosing ingredients that make you smile, make you laugh, remind you of being younger, or are bright in flavor, the whole point is to have a good time.”
You can watch Hereford take you through the steps below.