We are in the midst of Massachusetts’ tomato season, which runs from mid-July through mid-September. Whether you prefer a plump, ripe Brandywine or a handful of sweet, red Juliets, a locally grown tomato is one of summer’s simplest pleasures.
Delightful on a sandwich, in a salad, or dusted with a sprinkling of salt, tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants potassium, vitamin C and fiber (Mayo Clinic).
Tomatoes are extremely versatile, adding a burst of flavor to soups, entrees, and sauces. Get creative or be inspired by some of our favorite tomato recipes, all prepared with produce, dairy and eggs available in the Chip-in Farm Store.
Looking for a quick and delicious vegetarian entrée? Served with a fresh, green salad, this simple and delicious one-pan meal will impress family and friends.
Crispy Gnocchi With Burst Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Adapted from Ali Slagle
Photo credit New York Times
Time: 25 minutes
- 2 olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 (12- to 18-ounce) packages potato gnocchi
- ¼ cup butter
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 pints small tomatoes
- ¼ cup thinly sliced or torn basil leaves, plus more for serving
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut or torn into ½-inch pieces
- Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
- On the stovetop, heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large skillet. Add half the gnocchi, breaking up any that are stuck together. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi and olive oil.
- Add the butter to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden-brown and toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, 1½ tsps salt and a few grinds of pepper, reducing the heat if necessary to avoid scorching.
- Add the tomatoes and 3 Tbsps water and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened, and the liquid has slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they burst to help them along.
- Add the seared gnocchi and ¼ cup basil, stir to coat, then shake into an even layer. Top with the mozzarella and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Top with more basil, red-pepper flakes and black pepper as desired.
Gazpacho is a refreshing, cold soup that originated in Spain and Portugal. Although there are many variations, all include tomato, green pepper, onion, and cucumber as the base ingredients.
The gazpacho recipe below has a lovely, creamy texture that results from the gradual addition of olive oil while blending the vegetables.
Adapted from Julia Moskin
Photo Credit: Cup of Jo
Time: 20 minutes plus chilling
Yield 1 quart
- 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes
- 1 cubanelle pepper or another long, light green pepper
- 1 8-inch cucumber
- 1 small mild onion (white or red)
- 1clove garlic
- 2 tsps sherry or cider vinegar, more to taste
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling
- Core and roughly chop the tomatoes and cucumber, then peel and roughly chop the cucumber, onion and garlic.
- Combine the vegetables in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
- With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 tsps salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
- If desired, strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few Tbsps ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired, or in a bowl. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.
Scrambled eggs have been eaten in China for thousands of years, but cooking them with tomatoes is a result of mixing Chinese and Western cuisine, first becoming popular in Shanghai in the 1920’s. Because of its simplicity, stir-fried tomatoes and eggs is a favorite among students and busy families.
Chinese Stir-Fried Tomatoes and Eggs
By Francis Lam
Photo credit The Kitchn
Yield: 2 or 3 servings
- 6 eggs
- Kosher salt
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsps ketchup
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes or 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
- 4 Tbsps vegetable oil
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- Steamed rice, for serving
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs well with 1 tsp salt, sesame oil and rice wine or sherry. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 Tbsps water, then stir in the sugar and ketchup.
- If using fresh tomatoes, core and cut them into ½-inch wide wedges.
- Heat a wide nonstick skillet over high heat with 3 Tbsps of vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, add most of the scallions, saving some to garnish. Cook, stirring, until very aromatic, about 20 seconds. Add the eggs, and cook, stirring well, until just set but still runny, about 45 seconds. Pour the eggs back into the mixing bowl, and wipe out the pan.
- Add the remaining Tbsp of oil to the pan over high heat. When it is hot, add the ginger and cook until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flesh has softened but still has some shape and the juices have begun to form a sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. (If using canned tomatoes, add the juice as well and cook about 4 minutes, to reduce it to a sauce like consistency.)
- Reduce the heat to medium. Mix the cornstarch-ketchup mixture, then add it into the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce returns to a boil and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, sugar or more ketchup — you want a savory, tart-sweet sauce.
- Stir the eggs in the bowl to cut up the curds a bit, then return them to the pan. Cook, stirring, for a few seconds to finish cooking the eggs and to combine. Top with the reserved scallions and serve with steamed rice.
Tomato Care and Preservation FAQs
Should fresh tomatoes be refrigerated?
The University of Nebraska recommends storing tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut they should be stored in the refrigerator.
How to ripen green tomatoes?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, tomatoes actually need warmth – not sun – to ripen, so it is possible to complete the process indoors. The most common methods are:
- Storing them in a sealed box or paper bag in a warm location
- Placing them on a sunny windowsill, or
- Hanging the entire plant upside-down in a warm location
Check out this Farmer’s Almanac article for more details on each of these options.
Can I freeze tomatoes?
Tomatoes can be frozen sliced with the skin on, or whole or chopped with the skin removed. It is important to note that the texture will be significantly different from fresh or canned tomatoes and are best used in cooking.
For more information on freezing tomatoes, visit the Univ. of Minnesota Extension’s Tomato section.
Is it safe to can tomatoes?
Firm, disease-free tomatoes can be safely canned – and produce a firmer texture vs. freezing – as long as the proper procedure is followed. Reference these guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for detailed instructions.
Which tomatoes are best for canning and freezing?
Tomatoes with a high pulp content, such as Roma (plum) and San Marzano, will produce the best results.
Do you have a favorite tomato recipe to share? Add it to the comments section for the community to enjoy!