Tomato Mania! 31 Ways To Celebrate Tomato Season
Best-ever BLTs. Crazy capreses. Sauces, cocktails, jams and desserts. It’s prime tomato time and we’ve got 31 delicious ways to use them while summer’s still here!
1. Raise a Toast!
Tomato Toast with Cherry-Pepper Mayo
Tomato Toast with Green-Olive Aioli
Tomato Toast with Avocado Cream
Try our Tomato Toast with Avocado Cream
2. Upgrade your grits
Shrimp with Tomato Grits
Try our Shrimp with Tomato Grits
3. Squeeze them Dry
If tomato juice had a fancy cousin, it would be tomato water, a pulp-free, pale pink liquid that tastes like tomatoes distilled and offers a super-hit of flavor: Shake it into a Martini (#5), drizzle it over cooked chicken, use it as a poaching liquid for seafood or turn it into a frozen dessert (#31).
Try our Tomato Water
4. Put an Egg in It
Egg-in-a hole? Been there. Go one better: Halve a medium tomato, scoop out the center and crack an egg inside. Season and bake at 450° until egg is firm. (And don't forget to Instagram it!) #tomatomania
5. Try a Tomato-Tini, then 6. Add a (Pickled) Cherry Tomato on top
Tomato-Tini with Pickled Cherry Tomato Garnish
7. Slice and Stuff!
Hasselback Tomato Caprese
Try our Hasselback Tomato Caprese
Read next: Quick Hack for Cutting Cherry Tomatoes
8. Pretty Up Your Pizza
Tomato Salad Pizza
Try our Tomato Salad Pizza
9-13. Fancy Up Tomato Salads!
14. Just Add Salt (the right way)
Ever wonder why a ripe, juicy tomato only needs a little salt to taste like basically the best thing in the world? The seasoning sets off osmosis, releasing the tomato's juices, concentrating flavor and making the flesh taste even sweeter. If you're just looking to draw water out of tomatoes for salads or no-cook sauces, you can stick to something simple, like fine-grain kosher salt. (Just toss in a pinch—about a teaspoon per pound.) For dishes that you season right before eating—caprese salads, openface sandwiches—and those times when you want to eat your tomato like an apple, we like the way a flaky salt, like Maldon, adds sparkle and crunch.
15. Make a BLFGT
Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches
16. Let 'Em Marinate!
No-Cook Pasta Sauce
Try our No-Cook Pasta Sauce
17. Gobble Up the Seeds
That slippery gel around a tomato's seeds contains three times the flavor compounds as the rest of the fruit. Serve it with toast points and a small spoon for a tasty tomato "caviar."
18. Embrace Ugly!
At the farmers' market, ask the tomato vendor for inexpensive "seconds"— they may need a few dings cut out, but they're usually at peak ripeness and perfect for sauces, salsas and more!
19. Treat them like Fruit (’cuz that’s what they are)
Tomato, Pineapple & Carrot Muffins
20. Punch Up Your Brunch
Pass on the prefab Bloody Mary mix and use a puree of super-ripe tomatoes instead. They'll be fresher and more flavorful, and you can switch up the color for fun. (Green-y Mary, anyone?) Season to taste with hot sauce, lemon juice or horseradish—or add extra zing with a splash of pickled cherry tomato brine.
Try our The Original Bloody Mary
21. Blend. Chill. Repeat.
Tomato, Watermelon & Strawberry Agua Fresca
22. Explore Your Options
Today's tomatoes have tons of flavor—and personality. Farmers' markets (and even some local supermarkets) are full of lumpy, bumpy, colorful, stripey varieties. Grab a few and get cooking. Your tomato salad will thank you!
What's an heirloom, anyhow? The term gets tossed around a lot but can be tricky to pin down. Some say it applies to varieties that were around before 1950, while others believe the name should be reserved for seeds that have been saved and passed down through generations without commercial hybridization. One thing's for certain, though: They're pretty (and) delicious!
23. Get (Clam) Saucy
Spaghetti with Spicy Tomatoes & Clams
24. Add Some Crunch
Broiled Tomatoes with Crunchy Topping
25. Up the Umami
Chef secret: Adding a few anchovy fillets will make your tomato sauce taste tomato-ier!
Try our Raw Puttanesca
Read next: 21 Cherry Tomato Recipes
26. Make Tomato Powder
Tomato powder is one of those things you didn't realize you needed until you taste it. The concentrated flavor is delicious as a popcorn topper or cocktail rimmer (we're thinking Bloody Marys and margs). To make it, spread a thin layer of tomato paste on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 175° until dry and crumbly, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. In a spice grinder or food processor, blitz the mixture until finely ground. Now start sprinkling!
27. Have a Jam Session
Spiced Tomato Jam
Try our Spiced Tomato Jam
28. Soup 'Em Up!
Try our Salmorejo Soup
29. Light a Fire
The next time you light the grill, throw on a few halved or thickly sliced tomatoes and cook until grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Use them on burgers or chop them up for a smoky salsa.
30. Make Them Last
You may know that you should store tomatoes at room temp for the best flavor, but did you know you should turn them upside down? Flipping them over prevents air from entering the tomato through that little spot where the stem used to be, which can speed spoilage.