After a recent trip to the farmers’ market that resulted in tasting the best on Earth (seriously!), we knew we had to find as many excuses as possible to indulge in this summertime produce. At just about any local eatery, you will be treated to a tomato-centric appetizer, salad or entree and we strongly suggest you order these dishes up as summer is the time to eat tomatoes until you just can’t possibly force another bite. But for times when you discover the tastiest tomato collection there ever was and you happen to be in your kitchen (such as we did), turn to these five recipes and pay homage to summer’s favorite fruit: the tomato.
Pictured above, this tomato pie, from the recipe box of Jennifer Justus, is just as beautiful as it is delicious. She makes use of different tomato types and sizes to increase the flavor and visual appeal. All of the traditional flavors of a tomato pie are there — but with just the right amount of mayonnaise, bacon, cheese and herbs.
- 2 pounds medium-sized tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- 1 (9-inch) piecrust, store-bought or homemade
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and broken into pieces
- 10 basil leaves
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 4 thyme sprigs
- Slice the large tomatoes into rounds ¼ inch thick and place them on paper towels. Let stand 10 minutes, flip over onto fresh paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes more. (If they are too juicy they will make your pie soupy.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Combine mayonnaise, cheddar, and Parmesan.
- Arrange a layer of tomatoes in the bottom of the piecrust. Sprinkle with pepper, half the bacon, layer on five of the basil leaves, and spread half of the mayonnaise mixture over the basil. Repeat, ending with a final layer of sliced tomatoes, placed so that you can fit the cherry tomatoes on top as well. Scatter thyme leaves on the top of pie.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, placing strips of aluminum foil around edges if they get too brown. Cool.
Caprese Salad with Beets, Arugula and Mint
We have Jill Melton, editor of Edible Nashville, to thank for introducing us to the idea of adding beets to our Caprese salad. Typically made with three simple ingredients (mozzarella, tomatoes and green basil), this summertime salad gets an upgrade with the addition of beets, arugula and mint.
- 6 small or 3 large beets (orange, red or candy cane)
- 5 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fruity balsamic vinegar (such tangerine balsamic from Olive Oil Store)
- fresh mint, arugula and basil, torn
- sea salt and pepper
- Wrap beets in foil. Roast Preheat oven to 375F. Wrap beets in foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool in foil. When cool enough to handle, rub skins off beets and cut into wedges.
- Combine beets, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, mint and arugula. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Serves 4
Summer Lasagna with Four Cheeses
Jill put left over Lazy Tomato Sauce to good use in this summer lasagna recipe, which features a combination of four cheeses. While she opted for the use of ricotta, fontina, feta and comete cheeses, she encourages you to try any combination that comes to mind (or that you can find in your fridge).
- 8 cups fresh tomato sauce
- 1 12-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles)
- 12 ounces fresh ricotta or whole milk ricotta
- 4 ounces fontina cheese
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 4 ounces comte (or gruyere) cheese
- 2 ounces romano cheese
- fresh basil
- Spread a cup of sauce in bottom of 9×13-inch pan. Top with 4 uncooked lasagna noodles. Top with ricotta, feta and half of fontina cheese and 2 cups sauce and basil. Repeat with noodles, fontina cheese and sauce. Top with noodles, sauce and Comte and Romano cheese.
- Place in fridge up to 8 hours or bake immediately at 375F for 45 minutes or until bubbly and done.
Summer White Bean Salad
Cherry tomatoes and red bell peppers are often on the sweeter side and this sweetness pairs wonderfully with the white beans and fresh basil. Depending on the size served, this can act as a side dish, salad or entree.
- 1 (16-ounce) bag dried white beans
- fresh herb sprigs
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 orange or red bell peppers, roasted and chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons sherry wine
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- black pepper
- Cook the beans in water to cover with fresh thyme, oregano, or parsley and garlic. Drain and let cool. Combine about ¾ of the cooked beans, and remaining ingredients and toss well.
These recipes were provided by Edible Nashville. For more recipes (tomato and beyond), click here.