Okay listen, yes, I am someone who occasionally writes about food (very occasionally, from time to time). One might think that my obligation, then, is to love the perfectly ripe july and august tomatoes that I get from my CSA.
And like, don’t get me wrong, they’re good and all, but honestly???? What can one do with a whole giant tomato (and do NOT say just…. eat it, I have like five of them.) Honestly, what can one do with a single pint of cherry tomatoes (salad is not an option)? I like tomatoes, but I just… what can I say…
Making tomatoes into sauce is way too much work, and imo not worth the effort (also I never really eat tomato sauce). I like a BLT as much as the next person (perhaps even more), but I can only grate my mouth to shreds so many times before I want something else (“so many times” i.e. once a week).
Here are a few things that I have been doing with ALL the tomatoes that I have been getting. The first recipe is from last summer, the later ones are from this summer, although I’ve been making that quinoa salad for years. It’s a solid lunchbox lunch.
Linguine with Tomato-Almond Pesto [Pesto Trapenese]
Adapted from Gourmet
Roasting the tomatoes is a great enhancement. Maybe if you have plum tomatoes you can just use those, but I have so many freakin beefsteak tomatoes from my CSA these days. (Actually this is a fib, we just got romas and you know? I roasted them anyway, they are roasting right now. It’s just better, idk).
What I do: preheat the oven to 300, slice the tomatoes into wedges (quarters if they’re smaller, sixths if they’re larger, chase your bliss). Break up but don’t peel 4 cloves of garlic. Put everything on a sheet tray, sprinkle with salt (a large pinch, like a three finger pinch?), pour over a bit of olive oil, making sure that the garlic is WELL OILED and salted. Stick in the oven, bake for one hour.
At a later point, make the pesto:
Smitten Kitchen lady says to chop the almonds, take them out of the food processor, do the basil, and then add them back, to which I say: why? Seems like a lot of work.
3/4 cup (85 grams) slivered almonds
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
1 to 2 large garlic cloves
Several sprinkles of sea salt
6 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup (50 grams) grated Pecorino or Parmesan
1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) olive oil
1 pound (455 grams) linguine
In a large skillet, sauté the almonds in a little olive oil until toasted. Let cool, then blend them in a food processor or blender until they are in coarse pieces. (“The size of orzo,” the original recipe suggests.) Scoop them out of the processor and set them aside.
Put the basil, garlic and a few pinches of sea salt into the food processor and chop. Add the almonds back to the food processor (keeping them separate will keep them from getting too finely chopped as you get the basil and garlic to the right texture) with the tomatoes, cheese and olive oil and whirl briefly. Season it with freshly ground black pepper.
Cook your linguine until it is al dente and could use another minute of cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest. Immediately toss the hot linguine with the pesto and mix quickly so that it drinks the sauce up a bit. Add more pasta water if needed.
This summer here’s what I am doing with my perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes:
Tomato egg stir fry
Rice, already cooked
Slice 2 big or 3 less big tomatoes into thin wedges.
Get your wok quite hot. Whisk three or four eggs in a bowl. Add oil to wok. Add eggs to wok. Scramble them until they are not quite done (35 seconds?). Remove them to a bowl. Add the tomatoes to the wok. Add a teaspoon ish of shaoxing wine to the tomatoes, as well as a lot of white pepper and a bit of salt. Cook tomatoes on high heat until they’re, well, cooked, and the juices are thick. Add the eggs back in. Stir fry for a few more seconds until everything is combined.
Serve with rice, I like to have it with sweetened soy sauce, but I haven’t shared a recipe for that (and probably won’t, as it uses some hard to find ingredients). You could also add more salt while cooking, or serve with a bit of soy sauce on top.
Summer quinoa salad
3/4 cup quinoa cooked with 1 1/4 cup water (genuinely unsure why I chose this quantity, but I did)
Just over a pint of cherry tomatoes, or as many as you need to use up
Some garlic cloves with skin on
frozen corn, (or fresh but who cares), as much as you like, why are you measuring frozen corn, just eyeball it, good lord
1/4 cup Cilantro, as much as you like
1 bunch of tuscan kale
1/2 cup toasted nuts (pumpkin seeds or pine nuts work well, I will often use walnuts too)
Mustard (I like dijon)
Olive oil, a bit of mayonnaise, and a lot lemon juice
Pepper, salt, pepper flakes if you like that sort of thing
Alternately: I’m using the Kewpie yuzu kosho dressing mixed with olive oil and some rice vinegar. If you have yuzu kosho add some to the dressing, it tastes nice with tomatoes. If you don’t, whatever, just make a creamy sort of dressing, the recipe this is based on used like, buttermilk or something.
To make the salad:
Put oven at 275, slice tomatoes in half, toss the tomatoes with a few garlic cloves (skin on) with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on a sheet pan with parchment paper, flip the tomatoes so they’re cut side up, roast all together for an hour or so.
While that happens: Cook quinoa. Idk, do it. Cool.
Cut kale into ribbons. I do this by rolling it into a little tube and then slicing it. Briefly fry the frozen corn. If your nuts aren’t toasted yet, do that. Chop some cilantro.
Make dressing: if you’re feeling ambitious use an immersion blender or like, a mortar and pestle to smoosh up the roasted garlic, then mix in the dressing ingredients. Toss together with the stuff that you’ve already prepared. Tada, a salad. Lasts in the fridge a couple days, good for lunch.