Food

The 10 Best Things to Do With Summer Tomatoes

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

As much as it breaks our hearts to write this, here is the final post of Tomato Month. (Wow, that went almost as quickly as tomato season itself. But I guess you’re gonna tell me that’s what makes it so special?) To make sure you are optimizing every possible tomato-eating opportunity during these last few weeks of the season, we wanted to leave you with the pies, sandwiches and salads that readers recommended, plus a few favorites from our archives…

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Reader Jaclyn pointed us in the direction of Vivian Howard’s Tomato Pie. It’s a project, yes, but also a showstopper.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Smitten Kitchen’s super simple Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes are great for both grown-ups and kids.

Hot sauce? Rice vinegar? We’re talking next-level here: Peaches and Tomatoes with Burrata and Hot Sauce from Bon Appetit.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Of course, no round-up (tomato or otherwise) is complete without the OG Tomato Sandwich.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

“A BLT is not a democracy,” writes the famously obsessive chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt in his Perfect BLT manifesto. “It is not a committee meeting. It is a dictatorship, and the tomato is King, Queen, and Supreme Leader.” (Thank you to a reader named Lauren for finding this!)

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes: Tangy, classic and filling enough to be either a side or the main event.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

A throw-together Tomato Salad with grilled cheese croutons (!!) from Joanna’s twin sister, Lucy.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

The easiest, prettiest Tomato-Ricotta Tart, from recipe developer Bella Karragiannidis.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Catalonia’s Pan Con Tomate. Warm bread absorbs the sweet tomato juice and olive oil, and one bite will remind you why simple, in-season cooking is the best kind of cooking.

The 10 Best Things to Do with Summer Tomatoes

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin: A play on the classic French apple tart, and just as decadent.

Thank you readers… and romas and heirlooms and beefsteaks. We’ll miss you so much!

P.S. Favorite summer recipes from readers and best reader comments of all time.

(Photos: Tomato Pie by Tim Robison; Rice Stuffed Tomatoes by Deb Perelman for Smitten Kitchen; Peach Tomato Salad by Alex Lau; Tomato Sandwich by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo; BLT by J. Kenji López-Alt; Fried Green Tomatoes by Alison Miksch; Grilled Cheese Salad by Ali Stafford for Cup of Jo; Pan Con Tomate by A Communal Table; Tomato Tarte Tatin by James Ransom for Food52.)

  1. Liz says...

    Unfortunately it is winter in Australia. But soon we’ll have summer and you’ll be in snow again…. The down side is that seasonal recipes are not always seasonal.

  2. Love these ideas! Always looking for new ways to make bright and delicious looking summer foods.

  3. Jill D. says...

    Love is a feeling….as you can see in the lovely candle glow pictures

    Love is also a decision… when the argument escalates and the doors slam… but then the door opens with an I’m sorry and a pint of beer (his most of the time) or ice cream (mine most of the time).

    Congratulations Joanna and Alex on continuing to make the decision to love. It is the best part of being human.

  4. Susan says...

    Just a plug for Vivian Howard’s PBS tv show, A Chefs Life. It’s so charming! The series followed her life and restaurant in rural North Carolina. I binge watched all the seasons this winter. It’s no longer free on Amazon prime but my library had the DVDs and you can watch it online at PBS for a small monthly membership (my member station rate was $5). Highly recommend the show!

  5. Kelly Drummond says...

    I’ve probably made the peach/tomato/burrata/ hot sauce salad 5 times this summer. Sounds bizarre, tastes amazing!

  6. HH says...

    They seemed like an odd couple, tomato and melon, but I am in love with Joshua McFadden’s “Tomato, Melon, and Hot Pepper Salad” from his cookbook, “Six Seasons.” Best eaten the same day because the tomatoes do that gross thing tomatoes do after sitting, cut, in a salad. But it is so good that eating it in one day, or even one sitting, is no difficulty! This recipe (and the panzanella recipe) alone are worth buying the book! An adaption:
    https://piedmontgrocery.com/tomato-chile-melon-salad/

    • I’ve made his celery salad and was sort of blown away :)

  7. Elena says...

    Money can’t buy love or good tomatoes. #truth That said, I’ve spent $$$ on tomatoes and made that Bon Appetit peach burrata tomato salad and it’s the bomb. People always ask for the recipe. Yum!

  8. allison says...

    I am so sensitive to acidic foods but with a fist full of antacids, I’ll take one for the team while tomatoes are this good. I’ve been having: everything bagel, lightly toasted with a thick schmear of regular cream cheese, thick slices of tomatoes from the local market, and balsamic glaze.

  9. DC says...

    Excuse me but you forgot gazpacho! :)

  10. Sasha L says...

    My favorite super fast and easy: cook pasta (penne, shells, something sturdy), toss with some olive oil. In a little skillet, saute chopped tomatoes and green onions in butter. Spoon some goat cheese into hot pasta, top with tomato butter mixture. Voila.

  11. Ro says...

    Could you do a post on how to deal with the weird, sad feeling at the end of summer? I don’t even like the heat and I didn’t even do anything fun this summer, but I still feel really bummed out. And judging by everyone’s wistful comments I don’t think I’m alone. Why’s this time of year so tough!?

    • Sasha L says...

      Yes. I am overflowing with FOMO, even though I had a lot of summer fun and did loads of cool summer things and I’m actually kind of hating the heat and wearing shorts and allergies by now, I still feel so sad that it’s almost over.

    • Sara says...

      Get excited about fall! I LOVE summer and summer produce (like, a borderline obsessive amount) but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to enjoy all the seasons equally by focusing on what I love about each one. So while I’m binging on tomatoes and peaches and breaking out my shorts every chance I get right now, when the weather starts to cool I will be excited about other things. Fall brings crisp, sweet apples and pears, warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, colorful foliage, boots and denim jackets, and cool breezes. So much to look forward to :) And it makes peak tomatoes taste that much sweeter to know their season is fleeting – but they will return again next year and be so welcome! Hope that helps a little :)

  12. Noelle says...

    We’ve had such an abundance of beautiful tomatoes in our CSA boxes this summer that I’ve been living off of open face tomato sandwiches for lunches and snacking on sweet grape tomatoes for weeks, and I’ll have it no other way.

  13. Jessica says...

    I just picked a ridiculously ripe tomato off my backyard vine. Nothing better than biting into one still warm from the sun.

    • Rachel says...

      And the smell!!! Can’t be beat.

  14. If you’re not putting peanut butter on one side of your BLT and the requisite mayo on the other, you’re truly missing out on one of life’s great joys.

  15. Oops – sound, not sounds :-)

  16. All of these ideas sounds so good. I’m sad that tomato season is almost over, but ready for fall too and an end to this heat…. Tomato sandwiches have been on repeat here just about every day for lunch (and sometimes breakfast!) and also, recently, a SPICY TOMATO BOURBON JAM that is so incredible I’ve made it twice. So then a garden-fresh tomato sandwich with that jam was even more amazing.

    • talia says...

      SPICY TOMATO BOURBON JAM – Do share the recipe/details please!!!

    • Chesa says...

      Yes, we need this recipe. We all need it.

  17. Tara says...

    Today my phone won’t stop vibrating reminding me that the world is fucking nuts right now. The border. The children. Babies ripped from families. Title X. Planned Parenthood. It’s hard to not sob throughout the day.

    Then for a moment, just for a mere breath… I go outside to the land of back sweat and unforgivable sun. There they are, my tomatoes. Waiting to be picked. Juicy, heirloom and most definitely five fucking dollars EACH at whole foods. I grew these tomatoes. Have I ever loved anything more than my tomatoes this summer?

    No man will ever come close to this love. I have never watched the weather this much in my life. What percentage of rain will today be, or this weekend? I have 3 weather apps. I went out of town and my neighbour was there watering, loving on my tomatoes.

    I think of my grandma during World War II. All those victory gardens. Maybe the victory was survival.

    • Jess says...

      Love this, Tara. I wish I had some outdoor space to have a victory garden, or even a balcony.

    • JessicaD says...

      YES Tara! To all that you said. My husband planted his own tomato victory garden smack in the middle of his perfectly landscaped, tended, beautiful front lawn this summer. I thought he was nuts. And he coddled those little plants and would update me with evening pictures of their progress (I am away with our girls over the summer, so they have been his babies while he is not with us). Last night he made himself a beautiful caprese salad with the first tomato and he was delighted delighted delighted. His own small victory in this time of nonsense and fury.

  18. Rachel says...

    And perhaps the most wonderful way of all: eating a tomato right out of your hand. Pro-tip: lean over the sink for your first bite, and enjoy while no one else is around–the slurping is highly obnoxious and absolutely unavoidable, but incredibly satisfying.

    • Danielle says...

      Yes! With the juices running over your fingers. I like to add a little salt and pepper after the first bite.

  19. Lauren E. says...

    “Hey, that looks like J Kenji Lopez-Alt’s BLT. Hey that’s the article I talk about obsessively. Oh HEY that’s me!”

    I hope that article brings COJ readers as much joy as it brings me.

  20. The Nora Ephron sauce yall posted was AMAZING! Thank you for sharing such delicious recipes!

  21. joan says...

    Oh man, that salad with the grilled cheese croutons looks amazing!
    This morning a saw the post for Skillet Tomato Pie from Bev Cooks, also looks amazing.

  22. Savannah says...

    This pregnancy heartburn is keeping me away from tomatoes and my mouth is watering!!! Hopefully they will hold out three more weeks and I’ll get to eat just one!!!

    • Amanda says...

      Me too! I literally opened this post to torture myself – 5 more weeks here! Hang in there :)

  23. Laura C. says...

    Pan con tomate is my breakfast almost everyday… How is it going? I can’t wait for September to come.

  24. Lalit says...

    Hey, just to say that “Pa amb tomaquet” (bread with tomato) is not from S pain, but from Catalonia (Barcelona is our capital city, if this helps get situated). In fact, “pa amb tomaquet” is our iconic regional dish. We the catalans always eat bread with some tomato scrubed all over it, plus olive oil. (Toast the bread and scrub it with some garlic before the tomato if you are into experience the full version).

    • Verónica says...

      I was just going to leave a comment explaining the same! Catalans around the world ;)

    • EGOM says...

      Bread with tomato, one of the Spanish national dishes! In the different regions of Spain has different names, for example, “Pan con tomate” in Andalusia, “Pa amb tomaquet” in Catalonia and “Pa amb oli” in Mallorca.

      I am glad that you share Spanish recipes, that great unknown of European gastronomy, that have to much to say :)

  25. Ayame says...

    These are all such beautiful recipes – thank you for sharing!

    This simple but extremely flavorful tomato risotto by David Tanis (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020378-tomato-risotto) from the New York Times Recipe has been our summer tomato staple and will continue to be for all seasons.

  26. Melanie Tetreault-Friend says...

    Hi Jenny! I have a tomato question for you now that we are on the subject. When a recipe calls for seeding tomatoes, it always breaks my heart to throw away (or compost!) the juicy liquids. My question is: can I use them in anything else?? Bonus points if “something else” is easy and simple!

    • S says...

      throw them into a tomato sauce!

  27. Amelia says...

    These look beautiful!
    Last night I did a simple raw tomato sauce – ground up fresh tomatoes from my garden with salt and olive oil and tossed with pasta and some basil. So good!

  28. Julie says...

    Excellent timing! My tomato plants are in overdrive so I currently have over a pint of sun gold cherry tomatoes and five slicing tomatoes sitting on my counter. I would add Bon Appetit’s pasta with sun gold tomatoes to the list. We eat it at least once a week during the season!