It’s not uncommon to have a glut of tomatoes in August or September, especially if the weather’s been good. The challenge is to find ways to use them up before they spoil, so here are a few of my top tomatoey favourites.
The classic version is with mozzarella, basil and olive oil, and maybe a few slices of avocado for a treat. A nice variation of this is to use Thai basil and some sweet chilli sauce.
Another great simple tomato salad recipe is to add finely chopped onions or spring onions, and some optional parsley or oregano. Or you can mix chunks of tomato with beetroot, cucumber and dill.
For something a little more elegant, try a Nicoise salad (tomato, boiled egg, olives, tuna, lettuce, French dressing), or pile some spiced lentils into the middle of a serving plate, and layer some sliced beefsteak tomatoes around this.
These can be made with raw or cooked tomatoes. The raw ones can be made with a ‘lid’ which is replaced after scooping the seeds out, and they can be quite delicately filled, with herby cream cheese or crab meat.
Cooked stuffed tomatoes are best done with stronger flavours, and chunkier fillings (minced beef and peppers, or chickpeas and onions, etc). Pick larger beefsteak types.
You have your classic ketchups, made with added vinegar and spices, and there are also loads of recipes for red or green tomato chutneys. These all keep for months if they’re put into sterilised jars and bottles.
Don’t forget all the different pasta sauces either. For simple ‘sugo’ skin and de-seed them, and cook them down until thick and gloopy with a little garlic, salt and pepper, then add a few torn basil leaves after taking the sauce off the heat to infuse the herb flavour before using right away, freezing or bottling.
Another, chunkier, tomato sauce recipe is to roast down cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic and chilli until they pop and their juices run.
Or you can make a really rich sauce with the addition of chopped onions, bay leaf, red wine, and rosemary, thyme or oregano. Make it even more substantial with finely diced celery and carrot, or mushrooms.
You can use fresh tomatoes and make cold gazpacho, with some ice cubes and garlic in a blender, or cook up fresh or roasted ones to make thick or thin textured soups. Add small pasta shapes and other mixed vegetables for minestrone.
- Slow bake in the oven for ‘sundried’ style tomatoes
- Turn into bruschetta topping
- Make salsas and other dips
- Coat unripe tomatoes in fine semolina (cornmeal in the USA) and fry
- Use in quiches and tarts
- Strain tomato pulp to make clear tomato essence
- Add to casseroles, chillis and stews for extra richness
- Cook with minced garlic and root ginger for curry base
- Roast on the vine as a side dish
- Grill with a little Worcester sauce and vodka for ‘Bloody Mary’ tomatoes (nice with brunch or a fry-up)
And don’t forget, you can give away any surplus to friends and neighbours, or check with your local food bank to see whether they can take fresh produce.
Do you have any other great ways for using up loads of tomatoes?