It’s that time of summer when my first home-grown tomatoes are starting to ripen. Cue the marching band.
I eat those first few tomatoes like candy. My Sweet 100 cherries don’t even make it to the kitchen: I pop them in my mouth during harvest. And when my Big Boys ripen, I slice ‘em up, maybe sprinkle on a little salt, and eat them for lunch.
But by the end of July, my desire for homegrowns is waning, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare the fruits of my labor. Here are a few of my favorite things to do with ripen tomatoes.
Caprese Salad: Arrange on a big platter alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella, topped with basil and splashed with olive oil. Some cooks like to stack their caprese into towers.
Pasta Topping: Throw peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes into a pan with a little olive oil and sauteed onions. Makes a light, lovely pasta sauce. For a little more zip, add capers.
Tomato-Mango Salsa: I buy bags of frozen mango to add to my homegrown salsa. It’s a sweet counterbalance to the onions and peppers I put in my salsa.
Tomato Tart: Use either pie crust or phyllo dough as a base; sprinkle your favorite cheese on the bottom (I love goat cheese, but fontina and feta are yummy, too), and top with tomato slices. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the crust begins to brown. Great bunch/lunch dish.
See also: Tomato Tart Recipe: 2 Ways
Tomato Sandwich: Slip tomato slices between two pieces of toasted, artisan bread spread with pesto or mayonnaise. If you’re a cheese eater, add tomato to your grilled cheese sandwich.
Gazpacho: There’s nothing sweeter than gazpacho made with homegrowns. I add my garden cucumbers, onions and peppers to the soup served cold with a dollop of sour cream on top.
Greek Salad: Feta cheese is a tomato’s BFF. In a big bowl, toss together quartered tomatoes, feta chucks, sliced onions and Kalamata olives. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Of course, you can always can or freeze tomatoes for those winter months when you can’t get a fresh-tasting tomato for love or money.
Tip: An easy way to skin a tomato is to plop it into a pot of boiling water for a minute, then dunk into an ice bath or run it under cold water. The skin just slides off.
Share your favorite uses for homegrown tomatoes.