You can buy tomatoes at the market all year long, but for peak tomato flavor, aroma, and texture, you can’t beat ripe, juicy tomatoes grown in season. So, while summer is upon us and in-season tomatoes are piled high, Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom is here to show you five different ways to make the most of fresh tomatoes while you can. Watch the video up top and scroll down to get five outstanding ways to use summer’s best tomatoes.
1. Tomato-Bacon Jam
You can use any kind of fresh tomato to make this sweet, salty, tangy condiment. Try it as an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers, spread it on a grilled cheese sandwich, or spoon it over scrambled eggs.
2. Tomato Pie
This Southern classic is one of Nicole’s favorite summer dishes. For this recipe, she uses a mix of heirloom tomatoes for their unbeatable flavor and standard slicing tomatoes to keep the cost down. Don’t skip the step where you salt and drain the tomato slices to draw out extra moisture. (Don’t toss the juice! You can add it to a Bloody Mary or gazpacho.) Because this tomato pie needs to rest before slicing and serving, it’s a great make-ahead brunch dish.
3. Tomato Sandwich
You’ll want to use large slicing tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes to make this mouthwatering grilled sandwich. Salty feta cheese mixed with mayo and grated lemon zest adds just the right tanginess, and grilling the sandwich adds a crispy, crunchy texture to balance the creamy cheese and juicy tomatoes.
Ripe tomatoes are about 94 percent water, and you deserve to enjoy every last drop of it — which is exactly why a traditional Italian panzanella bread salad should be on every tomato-lover’s list of favorite summer recipes. The tomatoes bring the juice, the bread soaks it up, and you reap the flavor-packed benefits. There are lots of ways to make panzanella, but you’ll always start with rustic bread that’s cut or torn into small bits and dried out or toasted so the bread doesn’t get soggy when it takes up the tomato liquid. Along with the freshest, ripest summer tomatoes, panzanella can include cucumbers, bell peppers, fennel, olives, cheese, and basil, all brought together with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.
5. Roasted Tomatoes
How do you improve on a perfect summer tomato? Try roasting it. For this simple recipe, slices of ripe Roma tomatoes are brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted with cloves of garlic for extra oomph. Nicole prefers to add basil after the tomatoes are roasted instead of beforehand. Try using roasted tomatoes to top homemade pizza, or serve them up with crusty bread as a simple appetizer.