Start With Tomatoes

Use Summer's Bounty

Fresh tomato salsa and chips

Silvia Castañeda Puchetta/500px/Getty Images 

There are many things I love about August. The first hints of fall are in the air with a few cool mornings when dew glints off the spiderwebs that form overnight. The lush and heavy feel to the air, with the garden bursting at its seams. And fresh, juicy, plump tomatoes! These recipes use these gems in the best recipes.

You can also, of course, serve tomatoes the simplest way possible; slice them thick and drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt and fresh pepper. Enjoy these tomato recipes, and savor the end of summer.

Start With Tomatoes

  • Tomato Pie
    I make this delicious pie every few days when I have a ton of tomatoes; the flavor is fantastic.
  • Fresh Tomato Pasta
    This is another one of those recipes that can only be made in the summertime. The temperature contrast between the cold tomatoes and the hot pasta is so wonderful and elusive; eat it quickly!
  • Tomato Pasta Frittata
    You can use leftover Fresh Tomato Pasta to make this fabulous frittata, or make it from scratch according to the recipe. It's easy, inexpensive, and luscious!
  • Tomato Basil Brie Sandwich
    This gorgeous sandwich is perfect for lunch on the porch, or take it on a picnic. Fresh basil and fresh tomatoes make a wonderful and classic combination.
  • Tomato Cheese Fish Fillets
    Nothing improves a basic filet of fish more than tomatoes and cheese. This wonderful recipe takes just minutes to make.
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
    Top grilled steaks, pork chops, or turkey tenderloins with this wonderful salsa, or serve it as a dip with different types of tortilla chips.
  • Shrimp Tomato Rice Salad
    Just four ingredients combine to make this wonderfully flavored and simple main dish salad.
  • Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
    No collection of tomato recipes would be complete without this fabulous recipe.
  • Tomato Green Beans
    I like serving this simple combination over grilled swordfish steaks; try it on T bone steaks or grilled ham steaks too.
  • Grilled Swordfish with Tomato Salsa
    Adding some juicy fresh tomatoes to bottled salsa really ups the flavor intensity.
  • Fresh Tomato Soup
    You'll never go back to condensed tomato soup once you taste this fresh version.
  • Three Bean Pasta Salad
    Make your own three bean salad if you'd like; but the canned version is very nice too. Or get yours from your deli for a wonderfully quick salad.

I grow my tomatoes in self watering planters on my deck in full sun. The constant available water makes the tomatoes very lush and juicy. And weeding and harvesting is a breeze. I like to wait until the tomatoes are fully ripe and red before picking them, but you can pick them green and let them ripen on a sunny windowsill.

Do not store tomatoes in the refrigerator: the cold air will kill the taste and the flesh will become mushy. I like to place my tomatoes on a tiny rack on the windowsill, so the air can circulate all around them. And use them quickly; with these recipes you'll run out of tomatoes before you run out of ideas!

Tomatoes are unbelievably good for you too. Lycopene, the compound that makes tomatoes red, is a powerful antioxidant, and found in high concentrations in tomatoes. This compound may help reduce the risk for some types of cancers. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, and potassium.

In some recipes, it's best to peel the tomato, because the skin can be unpleasantly tough (although home grown tomatoes usually have very delicate skins). To peel a tomato, cut a small X in the blossom end (the end opposite the stem) and plunge them into rapidly boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove from the hot water and plunge them into ice water. Let them stand for a few minutes, and the peel will come right off.

To seed tomatoes, cut them in half through their 'equator' (halfway between the stem end and the blossom end) and gently squeeze them over a bowl or the sink.