Whether they're homegrown or fresh from the market, nothing beats ripe tomatoes in the summertime.
- Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Red, Ripe, and Ready to EatA single plant can produce over a dozen tomatoes, which means you can give a basket to the neighbors and still pack almost every meal with the nutrient-rich fruit. Serve them in pasta, pizza, vinaigrettes, and even desserts. Paired with the right spices, tomatoes can be sweet, tangy, or tart foils to the other ingredients.
Cheese and Olive-Stuffed TomatoesSometimes the best way to enjoy fresh produce is to free it from heavy sauces or other flavor-masking extras. Serve a Mediterranean-inspired side packed with feta, olives, and a little basil. It's a great complement to any hot-off-the-grill entrée, or add a little chopped chicken to the mix and serve on its own. Use sturdy, ripe tomatoes for optimal flavor and presentation.
Fresh Tomato and Basil PastaWhen the temperature climbs, dinner cravings often tend toward light and simple. Make a pasta dish that's packed with the freshest of ingredients, including mozzarella, garlic, basil, and, of course, tomatoes. A little olive oil adds a punch of flavor that rounds out the simple sauce.
Oven-Roasted Sea Bass with Couscous and Warm Tomato VinaigretteFresh tomato chutneys and dressings add color and flavor to almost any meat. Try it with a firm, delicately-seasoned sea bass for a refreshing summer dish. The warm vinaigrette dressing pairs well with fluffy couscous, so make extra and spread the flavor around.
Creole Tomato SaladTomato salad, often served with basil and fresh mozzarella, is a favorite in most homes, so try this New Orleans-style Creole version. Fresh mint and sweet onions pair with ripe tomatoes to make a tasty base for the zesty red wine and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. This salad is simple to make and a great dish for a neighborhood potluck.
Tomato-Watermelon SorbetServe an inspired sorbet that calls for the juice of fresh tomatoes. Make this dessert when your tomatoes are at their ripest–the sweetness of the fruit pairs perfectly with ripe watermelon. Keep the secret ingredient to yourself and see if your guests can name it.
Fresh Tomato-Pesto PizzaUpdate pizza night by exchanging the standard jarred tomato sauce for a bright 5-ingredient homemade pesto. Top a store-bought crust with the pesto, then layer on chopped tomatoes, garlic, provolone, and a few sprinkles of basil.
Bart's Ultimate BLTWhile it's hard to beat the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato combination (often served with a hint of mayonnaise on toasted bread), this zesty interpretation will transform your grab-and-go sandwich lunch. Start with the best ingredients, including ripe tomatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, and sourdough bread, and add a fragrant basil spread instead of plain mayo. You may never buy regular mayo again.
How-To Video: Perfect SlicesWatch this video and learn how to cut perfect tomato slices.
How-To Video: Removing the CoreWatch this how-to video for an easy way to remove the core of a tomato.