Sweet yet tangy, tomatoes are one of the true superstars of the cooking world. If you have a bunch of juicy tomatoes you're just dying to turn into something delicious, make some fresh salsa or cold and crispy gazpacho soup.
Terrific Tomato Recipes
One of the best things about tomatoes is that they come in so many varieties, each with its own texture and subtle difference in flavor. The following tomato recipes are sure to make your mouth water.
Roasting your tomatillos really brings out their flavor in this delicious salsa.
- 1 pound fresh tomatillos
- 2 to 3 serrano peppers, to your level of heat
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 1 medium-size white onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the broiler, and line a baking tray with foil.
- Remove the paper sheaths from the tomatillos, rinse them, and lay them on the tray.
- Broil them until they turn dark, and then flip them and repeat.
- Remove the tomatillos from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Seed the peppers, and combine them with the tomatillos, onion and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the contents are chopped to your preferred consistency.
- Pour the mix into a bowl and stir in the cilantro, sugar and salt.
- If you prefer a thinner salsa, stir in a little extra tomato juice.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour before serving.
Tomatoes are the backbone of this delightfully refreshing, cold summer soup.
- 8 large tomatoes
- 2 large cucumbers
- 1 large yellow bell pepper
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 1 bunch of green onions
- Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- V-8 juice, enough to make the soup your preferred consistency
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- Croutons, optional
- Sour cream, optional
- Dice the tomatoes and pour them and any juice accumulated into a large bowl.
- Peel the cucumbers, and slice them in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and then cut each half into several slices that you'll chop into bite-sized chunks. Add them to the tomatoes.
- Core the bell peppers to remove the seeds, and then slice and dice them before adding them to the bowl.
- Slice the bunch of green onions thinly, using both the green and white sections, but discarding the roots.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemon and pour it into the bowl. You can add even more lemon juice if you prefer your soup a little zestier.
- Add the tablespoon of dried tarragon.
- Pour the tomato juice in slowly. Add just enough to make the soup as thick or as thin as you like.
- Stir all the ingredients together, and then add the Tabasco 1 teaspoon at a time. Stir and taste to decide if you'd like to add a little more heat.
- When all the ingredients are combined and stirred, put the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for three to four hours before serving.
- Serve in bowls with croutons and a dollop of sour cream on top.
Once Thought Inedible
Native to South America, the tomato didn't reach Europe until the seventeenth century. People originally believed the fruits were not safe to eat. So for years, tomatoes were only grown as ornamental plants. This is actually kind of ironic, because most home gardeners will admit the plants themselves aren't that attractive. Once people realized that the tomato was not only edible, but also delicious, it quickly became a staple in many cuisines.
A Versatile Fruit
Tomatoes have long been a popular food for home canning, which preserves them for use in a variety of recipes over the long winter months. Tomato sauce is a staple, but there are more ways to prepare tomatoes than turning them into spaghetti sauce and salad wedges.
- Pickled while small and green, tomatoes can be preserved whole like cucumbers.
- Sliced green tomatoes can be dredged in flour and fried, or fried without flour for the southern side dish fried green tomatoes.
- Tomatoes are also the backbone of nearly any salsa recipe.
Homegrown Versus Store Bought
Tomatoes in the grocery store have been picked before they are ripe. They are then chemically ripened in a process that leaves the fruit firmer and easier to ship without damage, but less flavorful than the vine-ripened variety. Those sold "on the vine" in stores have also been picked before ripening, but the bit of vine retains some of the nutrients and allows the unripe fruit to ripen with slightly more flavor than those separated entirely from the vine. For the best flavor and freshness, home gardeners know that nothing beats a tomato grown and harvested from your own garden.
Any Way You Slice Them
No matter how you like your tomatoes, it's just about impossible to imagine cooking without them. Whether tomatoes are the main ingredient in a recipe or just one of the components, they certainly bring a lot of flavor to any plate.