With sweet local tomatoes starting to ripen, it’s time to think about the many great things you can do with fresh tomatoes in your kitchen.
Here are some flavorful ways to use your summer tomatoes, beyond sandwiches and pasta sauce:
Bake them with bubbling cheese: Mix Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder and olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Top halved tomatoes with the mixture and bake until bubbly.
Slow roast them as a side dish or topping: Chop tomatoes, slice red onions and toss with whole garlic cloves and fresh herbs. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Roast on low heat at 300F for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the tomatoes are wrinkly. Serve as a topping or side dish with fish, chicken or scrambled eggs. Or add the mixture to homemade pizza.
Stuff them: Stuff tomatoes and bake them in the oven! Try quinoa, rice or farro mixed with veggies or ground beef or sausage blended with spices and mozzarella.
Feature them in panzanella salad: Chop ripe tomatoes and add to cubes of crusty Italian bread. Mix in fresh basil leaves and dress with red wine vinaigrette. As an optional addition, try our new bocconcini – egg-size, fresh mozzarella balls – and ciligene, which are the size of small cherries.
Turn them into soup: Tomatoes serve as a base for summer soup in chilled gazpacho. Blend 2 chopped tomatoes with 1 cucumber, 2 peppers in your choice of colors, 3 stalks of celery and 1 small onion. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Top it off with fresh crabmeat or lobster, or a few slices of avocado.
Grill tomato slices and serve with toppings: Use tomato slices in place of bread! Grill slices and top with Monterey Jack cheese and jalapenos, brie and sliced almonds or prosciutto and a slice of cantaloupe.
Drink them in a fresh Bloody Mary: Take your Bloody Mary up a notch with the earthy, sweet flavor of fresh tomato juice blended in your own kitchen. Puree 6 pounds of tomatoes in a food processor with 6 celery ribs, 2 cups chopped parsley and sea salt in batches until smooth. Chill for at least one hour. Strain the solids out through a medium sieve into a bowl to leave fresh juice. Mix tomato juice with vodka and then customize Bloody Marys with varying amounts of hot sauce, horseradish, and lemon juice. Garnish with a celery stick and lemon wedge.
Make them a surprise addition to fruit salad: Tomatoes might seem like a strange element of fruit salad, but they are technically a fruit, so why not? Add tanginess to your fruit cocktail with freshly chopped tomatoes, added to mango, berries, watermelon and pears. Top with sprigs of fresh mint.