Tomatoes--heirloom, organic, locally-grown--are the stars of late-summer midwestern farmers markets. Classified as a fruit with interior seeds, tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are mostly prepared and consumed as vegetables. And even though many Mediterranean dishes feature tomatoes, the first tomato plants came from South America. European explorers imported tomato plants back to Europe, and tomato dishes started to appear in Italian and Spanish dishes in the 16th century.
While I cook with tomatoes all year, I anticipate the fresh tomatoes I can buy from local farmers at August and September markets. I love to cook with these beauties. Here are some dishes I make that feature locally-grown tomatoes:
a chopped salad of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers with feta and olives (above)
a platter of sliced tomatoes and the freshest burrata I can find, topped with olive oil and basil
a salad of cooked green beans and corn with cherry tomatoes (above) [I prep and blanch the green beans in salted water for a few minutes, adding corn kernels for the last minute. I let these vegetables cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then I add halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh basil.]
an easy pasta sauce featuring cherry tomatoes [I chop and sautée 1/2 and onion in olive oil for 10-15 minutes, then add 1 pint or more of cherry tomatoes, let the sauce simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, season with salt, pepper and fresh basil.]
How do you like to use farmers market tomatoes in your cooking?