Tomatoes | In SeasonPhoto Credit : Viktorné Lupaneszku/ www.stocksy.com
Is there any plant that spans such extremes as the tomato? From mealy under-ripe winter specimens to glorious sun-ripened fruit, we may as well be talking about different species. Eat enough of the former, and you’ll swear off the whole lot. But fortunately, the consistency and quality of tomatoes has improved dramatically in the past ten years, even in winter. In Madison, Maine, Backyard Farms grows 600,000 plants year-round in a massive array of greenhouses. But summer is prime tomato season, the best time to be eating the plant known botanically as Solanum lycopersicum. From purple and green heirlooms to classic beefsteaks, tomatoes should be at the center of every plate this month.
Native to South America, the tomato wheedled its way into every food culture it encountered, from Mexico to Italy to New England. The first written mention of tomatoes appeared in a treatise by the Italian botanist Pierandrea Mattioli in 1544; Thomas Jefferson tasted them in France and sent seeds home to Monticello.It took longer for tomatoes to make their way north, but our own Fannie Farmer celebrated ripe tomatoes in the simple broiled preparation featured below, circa 1918. Enjoy this and all the other delicious treats we’ve compiled below. Seize the summer!
Broiled Tomatoes Using breadcrumbs flavored with shallot, fresh herbs, and Parmesan, these stuffed and broiled tomatoes are an elegant way to enjoy a classic tomato dish.
Corn and Tomato Salad Matt Tropeano takes this recipe firmly into summer with tomatoes, corn, and fresh herbs, putting the dish somewhere between a light stew and a hearty salad.
Fresh Tomato Sauce Make homemade fresh tomato sauce with your pick of veggies, then freeze and enjoy the taste of summer all year long.
Steamed Mussels with Garlic, Tomatoes & Scallions Quick, easy, and delicious–what else could you want from a meal? Be sure to discard mussels that won’t close before cooking and those that don’t open after cooking.
Quinoa Salad with Tomato & Basil Gluten-free and high in protein, quinoa is a great way to add rich nutrients and fiber to your diet. Added flavors of basil, lemon, tomato, and edamame blend beautifully.
Zucchini Lasagna with Tomatoes & Mozzarella This Zucchini Lasagna is a great alternative for gluten-free eaters — imagine strips of zucchini acting as pasta. Serve with (regular or gluten-free) bread.
Tomato Tart with Cornmeal Crust We pair nutty Asiago cheese with tomatoes and scallions in this simple, cornmeal-crusted tart.
Tomato Salad with Watermelon & Mozzarella This salad eats like a meal, and is a delicious, substantial celebration of summer flavors that requires just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time.
Fresh Tomato & Strawberry Salsa With their tart sweetness, strawberries complement tomatoes in a surprising way. A little heat from the jalapeños pulls the mixture together.