It’s a telltale sign of summer: Tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors start filling market produce aisles. With so many to choose from, we thought it might be helpful to suss out all the options, and maybe provide a few ways to use summer’s juicy bounty.
From familiar varieties like plum and cherry to exotic heirlooms like sun gold and Brandywine, dive into summer by giving all of your friends some serious #tomatoenvy. It’s a thing. Especially if burrata is involved, too.
Because they’re both bigger and sturdier than other tomato varieties, beefsteak tomatoes will work well in any recipe that showcases them. Slice them thick and add them to a burger. Layer them with some decadent mozz and basil for a Caprese salad. Combine them with other summer produce for a total treat (read: Peach and Mozzarella Salad).
Striped, rainbow-hued, marbled, misshapen; you’re looking at gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, and they’re the real deal. Heirlooms come from seeds that have been passed down through several generations of farmers, which is why you most often find them—and only in the summer—at your local farmers market. Forgive us for making such a sweeping statement, but heirlooms might be our favorite.
They’re delicious on their own, or dressed very simply—add a swirl of olive oil and a bit of flaky sea salt to a thick slice and you’ll be amazed. If you want to incorporate heirlooms into a meal, toss them in a salad, or puree them for a gazpacho.
Cherry tomatoes are the darling of every salad bar, crudité platter, and pasta salad. And for good reason—their small, uniform size makes them the perfect bite in a variety of dishes, hot and cold. Try slicing them in half and dressing them with a spicy vinaigrette, or let them shine bright with this pasta salad.
Pro Tip: here’s how to cut them to save time and avoid making a mess.
Plum tomatoes (or Romas) are slightly bigger than their cherry counterparts, but not quite as meaty as beefsteaks. They’re the perfect size for topping a thick slice of toast when sliced, or blistered on the stove top, or in the oven for a jammy, red sauce. You can also dice plum tomatoes for a fresh salsa or pico; because of the larger ratio of skin to flesh, plum tomatoes keep their structure better in salsas than other options on this list. Give this recipe a go.
If you’ve never tried a green tomato before, you might be in for a surprise. Green tomatoes are actually unripe red tomatoes, which gives them their acidic taste. You’re not going to want to eat these raw. Once cooked, though, they have a bright, tart, irresistible flavor. Add them to a summer sandwich, or fry them up and eat them on their own!
Fried Green Tomatoes
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup flour, divided
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 medium sized green tomatoes, cut ⅓ inch slices
Combine egg and buttermilk. Combine ¼ cup flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper in a bowl. Dredge tomatoes in remaining flour, egg, then dredge in cornmeal mixture. Pour oil into skillet, drop tomatoes in batches, cook 2 mins on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.