There are no words to describe a fresh picked tomato from your own garden. Well, maybe super-delicious. Laying out fresh cut slices on a plate as a side dish for a summer lunch is a favorites of mine. No salt; no balsamic, mozzarella and basil; no sugar; just fresh tomato taste. The taste truly is super-delicious. After enjoying the first fresh picked tomatoes, I’m usually looking for a great recipe for all of the remaining tomatoes. I don’t think you can go wrong with any these quick recipes.
Tomato Caprese Salad
While I said that I prefer a plain tomato slice on a plate, a fresh tomato caprese salad is an excellent choice as an appetizer any time. Ingredients are simply a whole fresh tomato (two if you want to put together a larger plate), fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar. You can prepare a plate of this wonderful salad by simply laying out slices of tomato on a plate. Then in order, place a thin slice of mozzarella on each tomato slice followed by a full basil leaf. Finish the recipe out with a small drizzling of balsamic vinegar on each stack. Some people like to put a bit of balsamic on the plate that can soak the bottoms of each tomato, but I have found that sometimes a smaller amount of balsamic is just as tasty.
So tomatoes are not the main ingredient in a good guacamole. A large fresh tomato though can really jazz up your guacamole. Also, despite kind of a preconceived notion that guacamole is best bought pre-made or in a Mexican restaurant, guacamole is very simple to make and tastes so much better fresh. You can make a tasty guacamole with 2 whole avocados, a fresh tomato (chopped), half a lime, a quarter cup of chopped/diced red onion, several fresh cilantro sprigs, some sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Start by halving the avocados and removing the pit, then scooping the insides in to a medium mixing bowl and mashing some. Add the tomato and onion — some will prefer diced, I prefer chopped — then squeeze in the juice from your lime. Dice and add the cilantro. Mix the ingredients together until you get the consistency you prefer. Finish the dip out by adding salt and pepper to your taste. The great part about fresh guacamole is that you can alter the ingredients to get the texture and taste that you prefer. Feel free to add fresh peppers to get the taste you like (from jalapeno to habenero). Enjoy!
I would obviously offend many people if I left out fresh tomato soup. Like the guacamole recipe, you can alter the mixture and preparation of ingredients to get to that perfect flavor and texture you want. Here is a personal favorite preparation of mine. The ingredients are 3 to 4 fresh tomatos chopped/diced, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 4 cloves, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. To prepare, combine broth, red onion, cloves, and most of the tomatoes in a pot and gently boil for 20 minutes. You can put all of the tomatoes in, but I prefer to reserve about a quarter of the fresh tomatoes for later. Remove the mixture from heat, and then when cooled enough to handle, run it through a food mill in to a large bowl, discarding the bits and pieces left in the food mill. In your empty pot, melt the butter and add in the reserved tomatoes — turning well and heating through. Pour back in the mixture from the large bowl, bring to a slight boil, then lightly simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and/or sugar to taste. I prefer my tomato soup not be sweet, so I don’t typically add sugar. If you like your tomato soup to be more creamy, you can include all of your tomatoes in the first step. You can also whisk in a tablespoon or two of flour while melting the butter (be sure to not let it get lumpy).
There are obviously tons of fresh tomato recipes. I encourage you to seek out new ideas for preparing your fresh tomatoes. I should also note that even if you do not have a garden to pick fresh tomatoes, there are literally thousands of farmer’s markets and roadside vegetable stands that have fresh tomatoes for you. Tomatoes are the perfect “Buy Local” product as nothing beats the taste straight from the plant!
Kent Allen has run FoodClassics.com for nearly a decade. At FoodClassic, you can find great recipes, food tips, book reviews and even deals on kitchen products.