Fresh homegrown tomatoes + ? = _____
July 21, 2013 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I have finally reached the point where I have more tomatoes than ideas. So, please share ideas for using fresh, misshapen, split-prone tomatoes in recipes.

Ideally, the treat of having vine ripe tomatoes is something to be highlighted; therefore, I'd prefer recipes that don't deaden the flavor with cooking. I'm already tired of sandwiches, salsa and gazpacho. But, all inspirational recipes are appreciated.
posted by mightshould to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: OK, so they're best fresh with nice mozzarella, basil, olive oil and crusty bread.

But once you get to the ones that are a little bit over ripe, or a bit soggy, I cook them up with lots of garlic and have tomatoes on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also enjoy them cooked up with garlic, chilli and sausage in pasta.
posted by kadia_a at 1:33 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tomato Corn Pie! Summertime in savory pie form.
posted by amarynth at 1:34 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Tomato cobbler! Roasted tomatoes w shirred eggs!
posted by spunweb at 1:41 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Tomatoes are surprisingly good dressed with soy sauce and a bit of toasted sesame oil as a condiment or side dish for east asian food.

I like white fish cooked simply and topped with a tomato salsa.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:43 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love this recipe for tomato tart.
posted by pompelmo at 1:45 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: What I do with my overabundance of homegrown cherry tomatoes once I'm past the sandwiches, salsa, grilled-on-skewers, toppings-for-homemade-pizza, mixed-into-pasta, and just-eating-them-direct-off-the-vine stage: slice them in half, place them sliced side up on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt, and put in an oven turned down as low as it can go (for my oven, this is 225F), until I decide that they're done, generally about 2-3 hours later. The resulting dried tomatoes are super-intense and keep quite a long time in the fridge to be eaten out of hand / mixed into other dishes as inspiration strikes. I used to also add garlic and pepper, but have found over time that the simple salt method ends up with the most versatile results.

Side note: even when I think I'm totally DONE with just eating my tomatoes... whenever I make dried tomatoes to use my excess, I seem to eat at least a quarter of them while they're drying under the guise of "seeing if they're ready." Soooooooo good.
posted by laeren at 1:48 PM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: "Buttloads of Gazpacho" sounds like the world's worst jam band but is in fact a good use for plentiful summer tomatoes.

Since you say you're tried of gazpacho, you might try this version, which, having yogurt in it, is not technically gazpacho at all.
posted by escabeche at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Drying or slow oven roasting is great it really concentrates the natural flavours instead of deadening them like cooking does. Also you can just chuck whole tomatoes into the freezer for later use, they are super easy to skin and great thrown into soups and stews in winter for summer flavours. You can freeze the oven roasted ones too, they are really good removed from the freezer, and just pureed and warmed through as a pasta sauce or soup.

Jamie Oliver does a great recipe with fresh tomatoes, you basically take a bowl of them and squeeze them all up with your hands until they burst, and toss them like that through really hot pasta for a great summery tasting pasta. The heat from the pasta cooks them just enough, I add a bit of fresh basil or pesto and some mozeralla.

You can use tomatoes in "Bread Salad" and I love slices of them raw on toast with black pepper, or put some cheese on top and grill it just until the cheese melts.
posted by wwax at 1:55 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Consider canning! Either tomatoes as such, or made into sauce or paste.* Canning them when they're fresh will preserve most of that fresh flavor and will let you enjoy them for months to come, potentially until your garden starts bearing again.

Are they quite as tasty as right off the vine? No, probably not. But what you're probably thinking of as "deadening the flavor by cooking" may just be evidence that most of the cooked tomatoes you've had aren't very good to begin with. Canning your own will result in better stuff than any of the canned tomato products you can buy, and if you're like most people, you probably already use such products on a fairly regular basis. If not, maybe this is your incentive to change that.

*For the uninitiated, the difference is that the former is ready to go, while the latter is an ingredient in other sauces. Paste is thus more versatile than sauce, as you can use it to make multiple kinds of sauce with varying thicknesses and flavors. But it doesn't let you just dump it out and go. You may decide to make both. Experiment!
posted by valkyryn at 1:57 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The simplest thing I do with awesome tomatoes, other than eating them raw, is to slice them very thickly, or in half for smaller tomatoes, sprinkling with salt and pepper, drizzling with oil, and grilling very quickly on a very hot grill. If you do it right, you don't lose the freshness of flavor of the raw tomato, but you also enhance some of the other flavors, and you get a warm, juicy tomato.

You can eat those grilled tomatoes on their own, or grill alongside them some zucchini, thick red onion slices, eggplant, peppers, asparagus, corn, endive, okra, or any other vegetables you happen to have; cut them all up, and make into a grilled vegetable salad - with or without lettuce, or cubed bread for panzanella.
posted by WasabiFlux at 2:03 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Consider bartering your tomatoes for other services: I used to mow my elderly neighbor's yard in exchange for his exceptional tomatoes.
posted by hick57 at 2:04 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This cherry tomato and olive pasta recipe only cooks the tomatoes briefly so keeps them fresh tasting. I've also cooked this with regular tomatoes. It's a regular at my house.
posted by biscuits at 2:05 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fattoush
Greek Salad
Tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime vinaigrette salad
Caprese salad

All summer long we have a giant bowl of one of these kinds of mixed veggie salads going in the fridge, which allows for nearly instant meals: grilled meat + giant scoop of salad.

Feel free to improvise on around those recipes. We've got a nice one going with a lemon vinaigrette, watermelon radishes, corn, mint, basil, tomato and cucumbers right now.
posted by fontophilic at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sauteed spinach with tomatoes is so good. Serve with rice or fresh bread.
Arugula and tomato salad.
Slow roasted tomatoes with sugar.
posted by travelwithcats at 2:26 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: in my family we're big on this very simple

tomato & cucumber salad

chop the tomatoes and cucumber
add red onion or scallions if you like
dressing is lemon juice or balsamic
salt & pepper to taste

it's delish!
posted by wildflower at 3:08 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: We're in the same boat - lots of ripe, split tomatoes! Seconding caprese, and panzanella. Here's one more - it does cook the tomatoes, but the flavor really comes through. It comes out amazing with the sockeye that's in season right now: grilled salmon with melted tomatoes.
posted by ftm at 3:09 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: For super ripe and juicy tomatoes:
Cut up about 2 small tomatoes per person. A mix of different kinds is best.
Put in ceramic bowl. Add teaspoon of salt, handful of chopped fresh basil or other herbs, and pepper. Cover loosely with towel and let sit on countertop for at least 30 min, up to 5 hours.
Cook some pasta. I like farfalle or spaghetti. When 3/4 done, drain. Reserve a cup of cooking water.
Take the fresh tomato bowl you made in step one. Pour off the liquid that has collected into your cooking pan. Be careful not to get basil or tomatoes. Add the pasta to tomato water and cook until pasta is ready. Add reserved liquid if extra water is needed, but the longer you let the chopped tomatoes sit, the more tomato water will collect, so it is kind of a balance between waiting and hunger.
Once pasta is done, all the water will be absorbed, and you can, pour directly into the bowl of fresh chopped tomatoes. Add some olive oil and mix, garnish with parmesan cheese if wanted.
posted by holyrood at 3:22 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Shakshuka. So good. Try to freeze some of the tomato sauce so you can make it again in winter without cans. But you probably won't be able to, it's that good.
posted by headnsouth at 3:31 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Both of these are summer salads from Mark Bittman. No cooking, just chopping.

Tomato & peach salad: peaches, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice

Tomatoes & strawberries with balsamic vinegar & basil
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:35 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: This is my favorite tomato tart recipe. I modify it quite a bit to my taste, so it's a good basic recipe to modify to your liking.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 3:35 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Can 'em. You have to do it right or risk botulism. But you have to worry about that with anything canned.

This way, you have tomatoes all year long. Who can complain about that?
posted by theichibun at 3:46 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Are any of them still green? Fried green tomatoes are divine! I serve mine with a chipotle lime mayo.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:49 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Tomato paella. I made this without the saffron and without the parsley and it was still great. Also, chop up one tomato and cook it in with the rice.
posted by Frowner at 4:08 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Marcella Hazan's garlic-scented tomato salad is always a huge hit.

(The recipe says to peel the tomatoes, but I quit doing that ages ago, and it's still wonderful. Makes it even simpler.) Be sure to have some nice crusty bread to mop up the tasty tasty juices.
posted by ambrosia at 4:12 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Slice or chop the tomatoes and arrange them on a plate ... add a variety of olives ... some greenery (I might use arugula?) ... add some dollops of goat cheese ... drizzle with olive oil ... drizzle with balsamic vinegar ... add salt and pepper. Enjoy!
posted by tmharris65 at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Home canned tomatoes are the single easiest thing to DIY that is so much better than store bought. To get similar quality, you usually have to buy the fancy San Marziano toms from the fancy market for a fancy $5 dollar bill. We just can up quarts of toms every year, and use them all winter. It's so goddamn good.

It's straightforward and easy. Check with your local extension office (not some random Internet recipe) for a good recipe. Off the top of my head, the only thing extra you need is a touch of citric acid.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: My favourite thing to do is put thin sliced tomatoes on top of bagel and cream cheese, and sprinkle rock salt on top. When I was in college we called this Poor Man's Lox.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:06 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I had excess tomatoes (back when I had a garden), I would run them through a Victorio strainer, pour the results into ice cube trays, freeze, and dump the results into ziploc bags for use in soups and stews in the wintertime.
posted by bricoleur at 5:43 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pomodori al forno! Trust me, this doesn't deaden the tomato flavor at all, even though they're baked. It's my favorite, favorite thing to do with tomatoes (and I love tomatoes!). I make extra and freeze in quart-size bags so I can have lovely, rich tomatoes even in the winter.
posted by Empidonax at 6:11 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Sugo crudo is a great way to use up fresh, ugly, falling-apart tomatoes.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:48 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: And if you're willing to consider a very good cooked recipe, slow-roasting tomatoes concentrates the delicious tomato flavor beautifully, and is best with fresh, local ones--I once tried to do it with supermarket tomatoes, hoping it would somehow transform them into something edible, and sadness ensued. They're amazing with meat dishes, or on crackers or bread with goat cheese, or tossed with pasta, or just eaten as-is. Since they take awhile to make, it's best to make a bunch at once and then store whatever you don't use immediately by covering them in oil or freezing them.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Ketchup. It's a labor of love, but worth it. It comes down to peeling the tomatoes (boiling water first, then ice bath), puree, sieve out the seeds, simmer with spices, vinegar, brown sugar until it's ketchup consistency.

If you're interested, let me know and I'll transcribe the recipe that I use.
posted by plinth at 7:07 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Seconding Shakshuka.

Barbeque sauce.

Tomato tarts are wonderful.

If you are at all into canning, canned tomatoes and canned salsa.
posted by bunderful at 7:23 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Just puree them and freeze as tomato sauce. You can do this with any kind of tomato, not just plum. In midwinter you will thank yourself at this glorious high-summer flavor which you have preserved!
posted by Miko at 8:56 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Mediterranean tomato salad! Cut the tomatoes into chunks. Add chopped fresh garlic, some cut up basil leaves, kalmata olives, and chunks of feta cheese. As a dressing, use olive oil and either fresh lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar. I pretty much live on this all summer long.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:11 PM on July 21, 2013

Best answer: Make pan con tomate and eat it for breakfast or as a light snack in the afternoon, with a cold glass of Estrella Damm.

  • toast some crusty bread,
  • rub it with a garlic clove,
  • cut a ripe tomato in half and forcefully squish/rub it into the toasty garlic bread,
  • season with salt and very good extra virgin olive oil,
  • and, enjoy!

  • People sometimes put a slice of jamon, dry-cured sausage (e.g. salami or soppressata), or cheese for additional flavor/substance.
    posted by scalespace at 5:38 AM on July 22, 2013

    Best answer: Give them to people who don't have a lot of money but who like to get busy in the kitchen, or invite them over to eat heaps of tomatoey things from your kitchen. If you're doing the cooking, start with a huge pot of spaghetti and a lot of fresh tomato sauce that is mostly just your tomatoes so you don't lose the fresh tomato taste. Invite as many friends as you think you can feed at once.
    posted by pracowity at 6:29 AM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Tomato Salad
    Tomatoes chopped into mouth side chunks.
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Chopped Basil
    Olive Oil

    Toss together. Leave in the fridge for an hour or more.
    Serve with some crusty bread to sop up the juice.
    posted by Seamus at 7:25 AM on July 22, 2013

    Best answer: Tomato pie! Mmmmmmm.
    posted by Falwless at 9:39 AM on July 22, 2013

    Best answer: Not that tomato pie -- this tomato pie! (scroll down for recipe)
    posted by headnsouth at 9:52 AM on July 22, 2013

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