Market Watch: Seasonal Tomatoes

Because we’re celebrating tomatoes this week, I went to my farmers' market and bought every kind of tomato I could find. Here’s how I made out.
Related To:
heirloomtomatoes_lead

We’re celebrating the juicy tomato this week (can you tell?). In honor of this yummy summer treat, I went to my farmers' market and bought every kind of tomato I could find and then set out to make some simple, classic dishes. Here’s how I made out.

Fun Varieties

Toby talked about about the usual tomato varieties you'll find this time of year in her "In Season: Tomatoes" post. Hoping to find some unique ones, I asked my farmers what varieties they were selling (you can’t do that at the grocery store!).

First, I picked up some large and round “Trust” tomatoes -- a greenhouse-grown variety of beefsteak; they’re plump and delicious. I also found cherry tomatoes in two varieties, yellow and sweet “Sungold” and the equally yummy, strawberry-shaped “Tomatoberry.” There were also some oblong-shaped “Roma," a sturdy tomato that's great for roasting. Finally, they had one precious heirloom variety: sweet and delicate "Purple Cherokee" -- so named for its greenish-redish-purple skin. What a great selection!

Tomato Feast

I used the larger tomatoes -- Trust and Roma -- for my Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe is below). This is a real a summertime favorite in my house. We serve it up with pasta or just dip some crusty bread in it.

As for the smaller guys, half went on the grill and the rest in a fresh salad with local cucumbers, fresh basil from my garden and a drizzle of my Simple Salad Dressing. Bobby Flay also has a terrific recipe for Tomato-Basil Salsa in his Mesa Grill Cookbook. I heart tomato season!

As for my Purple Cherokee, that went into a tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread. I added a few basil leaves and a sprinkle of salt and pepper -- so simple and delicious.

roasted tomato sauce
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Makes 10 servings (1/2 cup each)
6-8 large tomatoes cut into large chunks
1/2 large red onion, roughly chopped
1 red chili pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, whole
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces) canned tomato sauce, no salt added
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes, onion, chili and garlic on a large sheet pan; add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper and toss to coat. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes just begin to char; set aside to cool slightly. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the roasted tomato mixture, tomato sauce, tomato paste and wine. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add basil and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Puree sauce using an immersion blender* until smooth.

(*If you do not have an immersion blender, puree in a countertop blender in small batches. Make sure to hold the top of the blender closed with a dish towel while the machine is on.)

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 80 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 11 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 139 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 3 grams
    More tomato recipes to try:

Next Up

Healthy How-To: Oven-Dried Tomatoes

If you like store-bought sun-dried tomatoes, you’ll love them dried from the oven. Although they take some time to cook or bake, it’s pretty straightforward —cook those babies low and slow.

Reading List: Debate Over Exercise, Tomato Blight & Banning Drive-Thrus

In this week’s nutrition headlines: Northeastern tomato crops wiped out by blight, Smart Choice logo debut, and 4 lifestyle changes that lower your risk of disease.

Grow Your Own Veggies at Home, Easily

My husband has a green thumb - he grows our fruits and veggies and I cook with them. Even though we have limited space we manage to grow a pretty impressive garden. Here’s what we like to do and just a few reasons why it’s so beneficial to grow some of your own food.

Last Call for Tomatoes and Cukes!

Summer may be winding down but there are tomatoes, cucumbers still ready for harvest. This simple salad is the perfect side dish to almost any meal.

Make Your Own Gazpacho

Between the backyard garden, CSA deliveries, and compulsive trips to the farmers’ market – my kitchen is bursting with tomatoes and other goodies like cucumbers, onion and herbs. What’s one of the most tasty and healthy ways to use up lots of veggies? When life hands you tomatoes….make gazpacho!

Katie's Healthy Bites: An Unusual (& Yummy!) Kale Pesto

This recipe features an unusual pesto ingredient: kale greens. Make it and spread it on pizza, pasta or crusty bread for a great appetizer.

How to Can Tomatoes

Capture a taste of summer with this step-by-step tomato canning how-to.

Tomato Debate: Fresh vs. Cooked

You may know that the more you cook a food, the more you destroy its nutrients, but is that true for tomatoes? Not exactly. In fact, some nutrients increase when you cook tomatoes, while others drop off.

Tomato Guide

Tips for choosing and using the right tomato varieties, plus how to make fresh tomato sauce