The Tomato Sandwich I've Been Making Since College

It’s called the Marv ‘n’ Joe.

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

College days are the days to remember. The sleepless nights, cram sessions right before finals, roommates, and tight budgets forced me to be creative about what I ate. I don’t know about you, but I have vivid memories of doctoring up ramen, stretching a can of tuna fish, and sometimes splurging at the campus café for a treat.

One of those little splurges was a tasty sandwich called the Marv ‘n’ Joe. This open-faced sandwich is widely known throughout my tiny college town. It was created by two engineering professors, Marv and Joe, who came together over their love of garlic tomato sandwiches and concocted this legendary masterpiece. Both professors said it was one of the highlights of their careers.

Since my college days are long gone and I’ve moved away from that little town, I recreate the Marv ‘n’ Joe at home—it tastes just as good today as it did over 20 years ago. The crunch from the toasted bread, the juicy tomato, the zing from the vinegar, and the gooey cheese all come together in perfect harmony every single time I make it.

Tips for Making the Marv ‘n’ Joe

This sandwich is so simple to make, but the order in which you place the ingredients onto the bread matters. I’ve made it several different ways, and this recipe is the best way to ensure everything stays intact.

For example, make sure you drizzle olive oil and vinegar onto the tomato. If you do this before adding the tomato, it’ll slide right off the bread. Drizzling it on top of the tomato lets it soak in! Adding the cheese next (and melting it) holds the tomato onto the sandwich, so everything stays intact.

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

How To Make the Marv ‘n’ Joe Tomato Sandwich

To make two small open-faced sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • 1 large slice sourdough bread, cut in half, or 2 slices of smaller bread

  • 2 tablespoons garlic butter, divided, see tip below

  • 2 large slices heirloom tomato

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, divided

  • 2 slices provolone cheese

  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, to taste

Preheat the oven on broil or the toaster oven on the toast setting.

Place the bread on a baking sheet. Spread the garlic butter on each half or slice. If you don’t have garlic butter, spread with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Add a slice of tomato to each piece, then drizzle each tomato with the vinegar and olive oil. Place the provolone on top of each tomato slice, then sprinkle Parmesan over top.


I make a batch of garlic butter and keep it in my fridge in a mason jar. Mix 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Change Things Up

This is a simple recipe, and it’s easy to tweak to suit your tastes:

  • Bread: Beyond sourdough (my favorite), you could use a split bagel, Texas toast, ciabatta, naan, or whatever bread you have on hand.

  • Cheese: Provolone and Parmesan are my obvious choices, but mozzarella, Gruyere, and Swiss would all be wonderful too. If you’re feeling extra salty, top with some feta.

  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like basil or oregano will definitely take this sandwich up a notch. Sprinkle on after toasting.

  • Turkey: If you want to add some protein, add a couple of slices of deli turkey onto the sandwich before you add on the tomato.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.