Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Using My Tomato Bounty

The start of the tomato season finds my husband and me ticking off a list of the "must have" tomato dishes that we indulge in as long as tomato season lasts. The very first slicing tomatoes tend to be used as their name implies, sliced and arranged on a platter and simply dressed with salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, and basil or oregano. Once the craving for a simple tomato salad is satisfied then I start to adorn the sliced tomatoes with other goodies.

Here's a few of the variations that I remember from this season:

Sliced tomatoes with...
  • buffalo mozzarella and basil with a dressing of balsamic or red wine vinegar and olive oil, aka Caprese salad
  • topped with diced cucumber, diced sweet peppers, and halved cherry tomatoes with mint and/or basil and perhaps some capers and a simple oil and vinegar dressing and perhaps with some pomegranate molasses added to the dressing
  • Caprese salad topped with the afore mentioned mixture
  • Crumbled chevre, toasted pine nuts, and basil with a balsamic vinaigrette (capers are a good addition or substitution for the pine nuts)
  • crumbled ricotta salata mixed with minced fresh herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon, thyme, chives - all or a selection) and a balsamic vinegar dressing
  • chopped sweet red pepper and pomegranate arils with a pomegranate molasses dressing
I also like to make a chopped salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, avocados, blanched green beans if I have them and sunflower seeds. I'll add pomegranate arils when they come in season (now!) and I might add leftover diced chicken or pork to make a more substantial lunch salad.

Then there is the parade of recipes that I've collected or perfected (or still perfecting) over the years:
This post has been a good prompt to get me to write up some of the "recipes" that I had floating around as notes here and there, or simply as recollections that I want to remember for next year. The eggplant dish is a case where I didn't really even write any notes, but my husband really enjoyed that dish so I know that he will ask for it again. All I remember now is that I grilled the sliced eggplant on my stovetop ridged griddle, arranged it on a platter and topped it with some fresh mozzarella (did I grate it or slice it, um, don't remember). I put it in a warm oven (200º or 250º?) to just soften, not quite melt the mozzarella, then I topped it with a mixture of fresh chopped tomatoes with seasonings - exactly what, I don't remember - could have been basil or dried oregano, garlic, and chopped capers, some olive oil and vinegar - sounds good. Anyway, that's something to remember to play around with next year.

I would say that that pretty much covers the fresh tomato feasts we've been enjoying the last couple of months and maybe the next couple of weeks. Next, I'm going to go over what I've been doing to preserve the tomatoes that we can't manage to eat fresh.

Do you have any tomato dishes that you must enjoy when the tomato crop comes in? Do share!


  1. Each summer our 'must have' tomato dish, in addition to dishes like you've mentioned like Caprese, or our baked frittata, is a grilled heirloom tomato pizza. We make our crust with coarse cornmeal/polenta, as it's sturdy, grills beautifully, and holds up to the most juicy tomatoes. A little fresh mozzarella, fresh garden grown basil, and therms, and it's perfect. Keeps the heat out of the kitchen too on those warm summer nights!

    1. Pizza with sliced fresh tomatos, mozzarella, and basil used to be on the "must have" list but has fallen off along with pasta with a raw tomato sauce. Our one, no I forgot, two concessions to skipping bread and pasta these days is at least one big BLT and a Panzanella salad. Do you use fresh juicy tomatoes in the frittata? I love to put dried plum tomatoes in mine.

  2. Yummmmmmm........they all sound so good.

  3. Oh, I'm so envious! Tomatoes are long gone from the garden here in Upstate SC (7b) due to blight...sigh. I'm experimenting with growing tomatoes in the greenhouse this winter--so far, lots of blooms and one green tomato. Crossing my fingers...Your tomato/basil/mozzarella salad looks scrumptious! Enjoy!

  4. Oh they sound marvellous! My personal fav is either just tomatoes or tomatoes and avocado with basil, salt and e.v. olive oil. I also really like tomato and cucumber with salt, a pinch of cumin and lime juice - really simple, really good with curry.

  5. Did you mention simplest shallot-butter-tomatoes soup? I like to throw it in a pot, then blend with the immersion blender and push through a sieve and yum it up. Depends on the tomato variety, though.

    This makes me want to grow more tomatoes next year, just when I had determined to cut the amount DOWN!

  6. What a great range of dishes - I'll have to try them when my tomatoes ripen in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing :)


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