‘Tis the season for all things tomato. Over at Mediterranean Living, we are celebrating with our Top 12 Tomato Recipes.
The tomato is a versatile food, showing up in soups, sauces, salads, pastas, rice and in an array of seafood and meat dishes. They are extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine. Another fine quality of the tomato is the taste, particularly when eating tomatoes at the height of the season. And, an heirloom tomato is truly a gift from the earth.
There are many nutritional benefits to the heart healthy tomato. Tomatoes contain large amounts of lycopene, which has cancer preventing properties. You may also be pleased to know that lycopene is reputed to reverse signs of aging. I should have had a V-8? Studies have also shown that tomatoes prevent heart disease and keep inflammation at bay.
Just for fun, here are a few fun tomato facts:
• The tomato originally hails from the Peruvian Andes area of South America. Tomato seeds spread from South America to as far north as Mexico. When Cortez conquered Mexico, tomatoes were shipped back to Spain.
• Seawater can be used to irrigate tomatoes
• For a period of time in European countries, tomatoes were considered unwholesome, if not dangerous. Thomas Jefferson was responsible for bringing tomatoes into fashion for culinary use in Europe and North America.
• Although the Supreme Court is not in agreement, tomatoes are indeed a fruit.
We hope you will celebrate the tomato season by trying some of these best of the web tomato recipes. From traditional to adventurous, from simple to creative creations, we have something for everyone.
Also, there are tomato festivals across the world that mark tomato season. Maybe there is one in your area, too. Here is a Pickyourown.org’s comprehensive list of tomato festivals across the US, Canada, Britain, Australia and Japan.
Sofrito is a staple food of the Mediterranean, as well as Central and South America. There are many versions of this staple of aromatics that is similar to a Mirepoix (sauce/soup starter). In Mediterranean cuisine it is often made with tomatoes, onions and olive oil, with some variations. Here is a wonderful Spanish Sofrito recipe from Ferran Adrià at Epicurious.
Gemista is a wonderful traditional Greek dish of Tomatoes, Green Peppers and Zucchini stuffed with rice and a wonderful medley of Mediterranean spices and baked. We think the Olive Tomato version is well worth the effort.
If you are interested in presenting guests with a gorgeous tomato creation, we suggest you try these Roasted Tomato Caprese Polenta Stacks over at Baker By Nature. And, you can use the pre-cooked polenta, so it is super-easy.
Ok, now let’s get down to the meat of the matter when it comes to tomatoes. Tomatoes pair beautifully with all meats, fish and seafood. Here are some of our all-time favorites.
Try The Food Network’s out of this world Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Cumin Coriander Spiced Tomato Sauce.
Try out Giada de Laurentiis traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore. Surely, this could become a family favorite.
One of our favorite Italian cookbooks is The Silver Spoon. And one of our well-loved recipes from this traditional cookbook is the Cod with Vegetables. Try this recipe over at The Geek Cook’s Chronicles.
There is nothing better than a fresh tomato sandwich on a hot day. We are happy to enjoy them simply treated with tomato, mayo, salt and pepper on toast. Yet, we also like to switch it up a bit upon occasion. We think you’ll love this fun Tomato Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise from Ina Garten over at The Food Network.
Spread the tomato love by preparing a homemade tomato sauce that can have multiple uses in your Mediterranean meals. We love Giada del Laurentiis’ traditional and simple Tomato Sauce recipe at The Food Network. As an added benefit, you can also freeze tomato sauce for a few months. So, think about buying a big box of tomatoes during the height of the season and making a big batch of sauce.
Tomato Soup is one of the most popular dishes for using tomatoes, in the Mediterranean and especially in the United States. Stop by Food 52 and try their Tomato Soup Without a Recipe with step by step visual instructions.
Add a little adventure to your tomato soup with this Egyptian version from The Kitchn.
Or, this highly rated Smoky Spanish Soup over at Epicurious.
Lastly, stop by Mediterranean Living and give our traditional Greek Tomato Slices with Feta appetizer a try.