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Cooking with Tomatoes

Updated on December 29, 2016
J Schatzel profile image

J. Schatzel works in agricultural/occupational medicine in rural upstate NY and has a Masters degree in history.

The wonderful world of tomatoes

Living in rural upstate NY, our garden’s tomatoes grow in abundance! My favorite to plant are San Marzano tomatoes, due to their meaty insides; and cherry tomatoes. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of recipes using tomatoes, or limited to any specific types of tomatoes, they are the tomato-based recipes with which I’ve had the best results, and felt compelled to share! Let me know in the comments below what other tomato recipes you have had success with!

Stuffed Tomatoes: Slice the stem end off of 6 tomatoes. Scoop out the pulp leaving a ½ thick tomato shell. Chop pulp, mixing 1/3 cup of pulp with 6 slices cooked/crumbled bacon, ½ cup finely chopped bell pepper, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup croutons. Scoop mixture back into the tomatoes. Bake (uncovered) in a greased pie plate, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until heated through and tender. I have also used cooked crumbled sausage instead of bacon, and pork stuffing mix instead of croutons, and it was delicious!

Stuffed Cherry Tomato appetizers: Mix ¼ lb goat cheese, ¼ cup minced fresh basil, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper. Stuff filling into 24 cherry tomatoes (tops sliced off, pulp removed using a small measuring spoon). Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich: I add a few thin slices of tomato to my grilled cheese sandwiches, and top the tomato with a sprinkling of dried basil or some torn fresh basil (when its fresh in my garden) before closing the sandwich to cook. Delicious!

Pizza: When making pizza when I have fresh tomatoes in my garden, I like to thinly slice tomatoes and lay over pizza crust, rather than using traditional pizza sauce. Topped with cheese and a drizzle of pesto, or some crumbled bacon and chopped veggies? Why yes, I think I will take a second slice…

Pizza Bites: Slice 4 plum tomatoes into ½” thick rounds. Top with ¼ cup grated parmesan, 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano, and a sprinkling of black pepper if desired. Drizzle with 4 tsp olive oil. Bake on a rimmed pan at 450 degrees, for 15 minutes until tomatoes are tender.

Fried Green Tomatoes: Whisk together 3 egg whites (you could just use 2 whole eggs, but using egg-whites only, the final product turns out crispier) and ½ cup milk. In another bowl, mix ½ cup cornmeal, 2 tsp coarse Kosher salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ½ cup breadcrumbs. In another bowl, place 1 cup flour. Slice 4 large green tomatoes to 1/2 “ thick rounds. Dip tomatoes in flour, dredge in milk/egg mixture, then coat in breadcrumbs mixture. Fry in ½” of hot oil in batches of 4-5 slices (don’t overcrowd skillet) until golden, and drain on paper towels.

Tomato Soup: Add 4 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 finely diced onion, 4 whole cloves, and 2 cups chicken broth in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and run through a fine mesh strainer. In pot, melt 2 tbsp butter. Stir in 2 tbsp flour, whisking until medium brown in color. Slowly add in tomato liquid, stirring to remove any lumps that form. Whisk in 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp sugar.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette: Add 2 tbsp fresh basil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp minced shallots, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 10 grape tomatoes, 1 tsp minced garlic, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a mini food processor. Process until smooth, and use as a salad dressing or chicken marinade!

Tomato Sauce: In a large skillet, cook 4 tbsp olive oil and 1 onion (chopped) until tender. Stir in 3 tomatoes (chopped), cooking until juices begin to thicken. Add 1 tbsp tomato puree. I also add ½ cup pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash puree. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until thick rich sauce has developed. Use with pasta, pizza, for dipping crusty bread, or with meatballs in the crock pot (or whatever else you use tomato sauce for!).

“Grilled” cherry tomatoes: Heat a cast iron grill pan over high heat. Remove stems from 1 lb of cherry tomatoes. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes before using. In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 2 tsp minced garlic. Toss tomatoes in oil mixture to coat. Skewer 4-5 tomatoes per skewer, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook skewers for about 3-4 minutes per side, until tender. Then take sliced Italian bread, brushed with the leftover marinade on one side. Place brushed side-down on cast iron grill pan, until crispy. Spread ricotta or soft goat cheese on the toasted bread, and top with the grilled tomatoes. Serve immediately! Delicious.

Salsa: Mix 6 large tomatoes (chopped), 1 onion (chopped), ¾ cup of green chile peppers (chopped), 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vinegar in a large bowl. If using for a chicken-based dish, or to serve with eggs and home fries, I also add the juice of 1 lime.

Tomato Salad: Toss ½ cup sliced red onion, 1 pound tomatoes (wedged), 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 red bell pepper (diced), 1 cup cucumber (thinly sliced), ¼ cup fresh dill (chopped), and 1 cup crumbled feta (I’ve also used mozzarella pearls).

Tomato Bacon Omelet: Whisk 4 eggs and 4 tbsp milk. Pour egg mixture into hot greased skillet, and sprinkle with a handful of cherry tomatoes (quartered) and 4 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled). When I have it fresh from my garden, I also add ¼ cup of torn fresh basil leaves. Cook omelet until eggs reach your desired level of done-ness. Enjoy!

Special Thanks

Special thanks to my husband, who helps me in the garden and is my official recipe taste tester!
Special thanks to my husband, who helps me in the garden and is my official recipe taste tester!

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