Eight Things to Do with Tomatoes

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Tomatoes pair very well with mozzarella (especially the warm, homemade variant).

Tomato season is just about to kick off here in our part of the country and we thought we’d share our favorite ways to use the ripe and luscious vegetable (specifically, Eight Things to Do with Tomatoes ).   I’m sure everyone would agree that the tomato season doesn’t last long enough and when it does arrive you one can feel a sense of:  “what the heck am I’m going to do with all these tangy, bright, and delicious tomatoes?”

In turn, having an abundance of fresh tomatoes is a kind of Catch-22 that will challenge your tomato sensibility; but you shouldn’t fret rather just read below:

Sliced yellow and red tomatoes with basil and red onion

1.  Make Tomato Sauce.  This one is a no brainer but there are some subtle difference in preparation when it comes to making tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes versus the canned variety.

2. Tomato bruschetta.  It doesn’t get any easier than dicing tomatoes and red onions and finding some good bread.  Our recipe includes good extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano, plenty of basil, and a healthy amount of salt.

3. Make a sandwich.  You’ll be surprised how a slice of ripe tomato can elevate just about any sandwich, including a hamburger.  Our favorite way to incorporate a tomato into a sandwich is to introduce it to a panino with Prosciutto di Parma (or any good salumi) and good handmade whole milk mozzarella (you can also make an Anglo version of the aforementioned, namely, a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich).

tomato and whole milk mozzarella sandwich

4. Make a big batch of couscous.  I like to think of couscous as the food type that pairs well with any vegetable.  My ideal couscous combination includes plenty of finely diced tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley; followed by a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

5. Sun (or dehydrated) Tomatoes cured in olive oil.  The very best sun dried tomatoes are dried, you guessed it, by the sun.  You can use a dehydrator to dry tomatoes and get decent results and if you cure the dried tomatoes in olive oil, along with a few other key ingredients.  Follow our sun dried tomato in olive oil recipe and you’ll possess the essence of tomato all year long!

6. Canned Tomatoes or Passato.   Follow our tomato canning guide and you’ll never buy jarred tomatoes again, plus you can delight in telling your family and friend you’re a canner.  Italians generally make passato, pomodori pelati, or concentrato di pomodoro in late August / early September.

7. Tomato salad.  My personal favorite for high quality tomatoes and the essence of summer food.  Our version of tomato salad includes basil, red onion, plenty of kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper, and dried oregano.  If we have a cucumber in the kitchen we’ll also dice it up and add it to our tomato salad; adding fresh whole milk mozzarella is also nice and elevate the dish.

8. Tomatoes and Fresh Fish.  Most firm white fleshed fish could benefit from a tomato pan sauce.  For example, I like pan frying flounder, sole, cod, etc. and then quickly taking a few tomatoes (deskinning and deseeding them) and creating a pan sauce consisting of garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and white wine (you can simply crush the tomatoes with your hands over the pan).

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8 Comments

  1. Or morph idea #7 into a Greek salad by using feta instead of mozzarella!

  2. I’ve been making a BAT (bacon, avocado and tomato).  Instead of just sliced avocados, I make avocado cream by mixing the flesh of one avocado with yogurt and the juice of half a lime.  I use this instead of mayonnaise on the bread.  Season the tomato with salt and pepper to taste.  It’s delicious!  

  3. All sounds soo good. We are waiting for the Tomatoes from the Garden to ripen in Boston. Few more days and the tomato festival begins. Great Site and blog. Anybody from the Gaeta area of Italia? That is where out family is from. Thanks for the all the helpful hints. Love it!

    Marc

    • Marc,

      I bet those tomatoes are going to be delicous. We’ve never been to Gaeta but maybe you’ll find some other folks here from that area (our family is from Calabria). I’m so glad you enjoy the site!

      Best,
      Vince

  4. One of our favorite ways to use fresh homegrown tomatoes is to make an uncooked tomato sauce for pasta. It only works this time of year when tomatoes and basil are at their most flavorful. Skin, seed and chop a couple pounds of fresh tomatoes, add a little salt and let drain in a colander for about an hour. Then put them in a ceramic in a bowl with about half a cup of your best extra virgin olive oil, a big handful of fresh basil and 5 – 7 cloves of garlic minced. Let this marinate all day covered at room temp. Serve over linguine. The best!

  5. Tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable.

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