Tomatoes Twelve Ways ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tomatoes Twelve Ways

Late blight be damned! There are still plenty of delicious, über flavorful, sun-ripened local tomatoes to be had. So let's have 'em while we can.

Tomatoes from Eatwell Farm

Here are twelve delicious ways to use the season's tomatoes - some of which you can can or freeze to last the whole year and some you should scarf down just after making. I've also included a few bonus recipes that include tomatoes but don't necessarily feature them as the main show at the end of the post.

1. Tomato Tart Two Ways
Inspired by a recipe in one of the Canal House Cooking books, these impressively fancy-looking tarts are made very simple by the use of frozen puff pastry (though feel free to make your own pastry, by all means!) Sweet ripe tomatoes, good cheese, caramelized onions and herbs make these tarts a decadent treat.

2. Tomato Jam
You might not think of tomatoes and jam in the same breath but you really should... Sweet, spicy (think ginger, cloves, chili flakes and more) and simply amazing when combined with goat cheese and any kind of bread product. Hands down the best jam I've ever made.

3. Grilled Tomato and Eggplant Stacks with Basil and Feta Cheese
These leaning Tower of Pisa-esque delights are an easy way to make the most of summer's bounty. Grilled eggplant and tomato slices are drizzled with olive oil, layered with sliced basil and feta (or goat) cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper and stacked for layers of melting-gooey-sweet-savory-herby yumminess.

4. Tomato Corn Pie with Butter-Brushed Biscuit Topping
Like everything Deb at Smitten Kitchen makes, this pie is heart-stoppingly (and probably artery-cloggingly) delicious. Biscuit topping, sweet corn, tomatoes and cheddar cheese make for serious summer comfort food.

5. Provençal Vegetable Tian
Baking concentrates the flavors and natural sweetness of layered, very thin slices of tomato, potato, eggplant,summer squash, and leeks. White wine, thyme and garlic add the delicious taste of the south of France.

6. Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Gratin
This is basically a healthier, lighter and actually tastier take on eggplant parm that comes from Martha Rose Shulman's Recipes for Health series in the NYTimes. Packed with flavors, very hearty and satisfying.

I have not stopped making these since I learned about them from Marisa at Food In Jars. Ripe tomatoes (you can use any size or type) combined with a few minutes of prep time and roughly 8-10 hours of slow cooking in a low heat oven yield the most divine concentrated dried tomatoes you'll ever eat. Add some herbs, balsamic vinegar and/or garlic for an even more ecstatic eating experience. You can eat them right away (great on bread, in salads, as a basis for sauce and more), pack a jar for the fridge or freeze them in bags or jars to enjoy all year-long.

Nothing captures the flavors of summer like homemade pasta sauce. You can eat this simple sauce right away or can or freeze some for the colder months ahead. You'll thank yourself during the dark days of winter when you're able to grab one of these magical jars of sweet summer flavors to make an easy dinner special...

A super tasty sauce filled with fresh herbs, sausage and, of course, tomatoes. Due to the inclusion of meat, eat this one right away unless you've got a pressure canner and know what you're doing (my recipe does not include canning instructions.)

This simple salad is so flavorful, flesh and flexible that it's become one of my favorites. Also a perfect way to make use of summer's sometimes overwhelming bounty of cukes, tomatoes and fresh herbs.

My mom-in-law makes this often and I find it positively addictive! Sweet, fresh, flavorful and very very easy... (a great way to make use of leftover corn on the cob, too.)

Once you've made your own salsa, it's pretty hard to go back to store-bought. Although you can just make this as a one-time treat, I recommend making a big batch and canning some to use throughout the year -- soooooo good!

BONUS OPTIONS - tomatoes play a supporting role in the following four dishes.

Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Basil, Bacon & Arugula - an easy summer meal packed with great flavors. And you can't really go wrong with bacon...

Chicken Milanese on a Bed of Arugula & Tomatoes - sweet tomatoes and peppery arugula provide a perfect backdrop for crunch, salty, juicy breaded chicken. Hard to beat.

Niçoise Salad - this hearty and beautiful composed salad is one of my very favorite things in the world. So many good tastes in one bowl and healthy and fresh to boot.

Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale with Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic - I am always thankful to find another good kale recipe and this is one of the simplest and tastiest I've stumbled upon. Garlic, sweet cherry tomatoes and a little bit of bullion or broth turn a big bunch of kale into a true treat.

First ripe cherry tomatoes in our garden by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

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Eileen said...

Hooray for fresh summer tomatoes! I especially like chopping mine up and tossing the chunks with fresh raw corn cut off the cob. A couple leaves of basil, a little salt & pepper, and you have the salad to end all salads. :)

Lou said...

Oh lovely, lots of gorgeous tomato recipes! They're my veg of the month this month and I'm on the look out for some new ideas so thank you, particularly preserving recipes. I have 63 plants (at the latest count, but keep finding more self seeded wild ones!) which is an awful lot of tomatoes for a wee family of 4 :) Louisa