12 ways to enjoy the great taste of tomatoes
I never met my grandmother, but I am told she was lovely and really enjoyed cooking meals for her family and friends. My mum says her love of cooking came from watching her mother, and the effort she’d make to ensure she provided nutritious and delicious meals that were enjoyed by everyone. Family gatherings were always big and cooking together was a way of life, a way to connect as a family and to share the stories of the day.
Many meals were tomato-based and while you may think all tomatoes are the same, there are subtle, yet distinct differences in the shape, colour, flavour and texture of the many varieties. For me, the fragrant scent of freshly picked tomatoes brings back memories of light and bright summer salads. In my garden, I have tomatoes growing and I love it when my boys purposely go into our yard to snack on them.
Tomatoes love herbs and seasonings, and are complemented so well by garlic, onion, olives, mushrooms, a little salt and many other fresh flavours. One of my favourite ways to cook tomatoes is in a French inspired ratatouille and served alongside grilled fish, salad and crunchy garlic bread.
Here are 12 ways to make tomatoes taste great:
- Simple salads–Tomatoes feature in many Mediterranean dishes, and they’re perfect as a fresh addition to sandwiches and wraps or as healthy snacks for lunchboxes. Simply wash and eat as a tasty snack or slice and serve over salad, with goats cheese or feta for an added flavour punch. Mix it up with an assortment of tomato varieties to add colour and interest.
- Tomato relish – Homemade relish is both economical and versatile. In a large pot, add 1kg chopped tomatoes, 500g sliced onions, 300g white sugar and cover with white vinegar. Boil for 5 minutes, then add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon mustard powder and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Mix together and boil for approximately 1 hour before storing in bottles. The relish could be used in pasta dishes, on pizza bases, casseroles and other oven baked dishes. You could also spoon it over grilled fish, on toast and in a variety of other dishes.
- Sizzling tomatoes - It’s amazing how quickly you can transform a simple tomato into something amazing. Adding a splash of balsamic vinegar for flavour that can’t be beaten. For a savoury treat, try sizzling tomatoes on the stove with ginger, butter and soy sauce and serve with basil over buttered sourdough, crostini or ciabatta bread.
- Brush up on Bruschetta - I love bruschetta and have many happy memories of going to dinner with friends and enjoying it alongside meals. Try this simple Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes. I know I will!
- Dehydrate - Make your own healthy snacks using a dehydrator, or even just by baking slowly in the oven over a long time to optimise flavour. Use this method to create semi-sundried tomatoes that you can add to sandwiches and wraps, or simply munch on when an afternoon craving hits. Try these Oven Baked Truss Tomato Chips. They’re easy to make and very tasty.
- Fresh Tomato Tart - Be inspired by Costa Tomatoes who shared with us their delightful tomato tart that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- Oven-baked - The combination of roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion are the flavours of my childhood and these Egyptian inspired baked stuffed capsicums (‘Fil Fil Mahshi’) are so good and look amazing too.
- Soup - Homemade tomato soups are simply delicious. A tomato grower from The Netherlands, Noud Steegh has a family history spanning almost 60 years and two generations. He kindly shared with Love My Salad his recipe and tips for Fresh tomato soup.
- Spice things up - Here’s a recipe for a Spicy tomato cocktail (non-alcoholic drink). Featuring tomatoes, celery and carrots, For those wanting an extra kick, try adding jalapeno and / or vodka.
- Parmigiana - For a hearty meal, this 20 minute eggplant parmigiana by Dr Sandro Demaio looks divine. If you love tomatoes, eggplants served with a butter lettuce salad like I do, you won’t be disappointed.
- Shakshuka – I love the look of this dish by my colleague Annelies Blaauwkamer. Made using just one pan, the combination of ingredients including capsicum, onion and eggs delivers a delicious meal with minimal cleaning up, which is always a bonus.
- Dips - I love the idea of this Avocado hummus with tomato salad. It’s made simply and combines two of my favourite snacking accompaniments, hummus and guacamole. Yum! In Mexican dishes, tomatoes are often front and centre. This Mexican guacamole by Chef Gerry Martinez from Brazil shows that simplicity is all you need in a delicious dish like this one.
For more great recipe ideas, type your vegetable or cuisine in the search bar or check out Salapedia.