Fresh Fridays: Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Are you tired of tomato season yet? Me neither. Thank goodness my family (and friends, colleagues and neighbours) loves them, because we have been blessed with a bounty this summer, all from just four little plants in our community garden plot. (That’s in addition to the green and red sweet peppers, Orange Sweetness and Purple Dragon carrots, and mounds of lettuce.)

I’ve given away as many as I’ve kept, and have found one of the best ways to use them is to stay true to their fresh flavour with simple pasta dishes. A handful of Roma tomatoes, some sweet green pepper and fresh basil, minced garlic and olive oil are all you need to make a quick and light sauce. If you’ve got some dried bread crumbs and Parmesan handy, you could get a little fancy and whip up our Seared Cherry Tomato Pasta in about 15 minutes.

Seared Cherry Tomato Pasta

 

The bright flavour of homegrown tomatoes is what gets me most; the store-bought variety isn’t going to cut it from now on. To savour tomatoes well into winter, simply freeze them whole (grape or cherry tomatoes work best) on a baking sheet, then pop them into freezer bags or jars and store in the freezer.

If you plan to use tomatoes for sauce, you can also slow-roast them: Cut tomatoes in half, place on a baking sheet cut side up, sprinkle with olive oil and salt, then bake at a low temp for a long, long time. (Check out these simple instructions for roasting Roma and grape tomatoes.) Once they’ve cooled, just try to get them into jars and to the freezer without eating every single one.

But my favourite way to enjoy tomatoes is in a plain ol’ salsa: The Best Salsa You’ll Ever Have requires only two other ingredients (jalapeños and garlic), popped under the broiler to enhance their flavours before blending. It’s so fresh and satisfying…. Next year I just might need to grow at least five tomato plants!