4 delicious recipes for summer tomatoes

Every year I grow a tomato plant and about this time, late summer, it produces way more than I can handle. At the farmers market, tomatoes are cheaper than ever as are complimentary ingredients like peppers, cilantro, basil, etc. Which always leaves me left with heaping bowls of tomatoes and until this year I was never sure what to do with them.

The cultural and family expertise of handling real food is many generations removed in my family. My remaining grandparent only has a few tips and only around Atlantic fish (he’s from Newfoundland in Canada). This means I’ve had to play around with various tomato recipes while researching what others do. Now, a few years later, I am leading a renaissance of real food in my family and ready to share those tips with you. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get in the kitchen or visit your farmers market for a few pounds of tomatoes!

I’ve found four delicious ways to handle the tomato overload. They are marinara/meat sauce with pasta, pico de gallo, insalata caprese, and plain old can-freezing. The first three can be a full meal with all the extra ingredients, while the last insures a prolonged tomato enjoyment throughout the winter.

 

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Sticking to Neapolitan tradition in pizza making – the Marinara and Margherita

The dish that has been called “almost certainly the most widely eaten food on the planet” originated in Naples, though Neapolitans would be aghast at the pizza toppings such as chicken tikka, ham and pineapple, and chicken pesto that have taken root in this country. Back in the home of the pizza, people keep it simple. Most go for the Marinara, topped with tomatoes, garlic, oregano and olive oil (with the option of a few anchovy fillets) or the Margherita, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil.

  • Marinara – tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil
  • Margherita – tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil

I discovered how these tasty toppings retain their artisanal excellence on a recent visit to Naples organised by the restaurant chain Rossopomodoro (“red tomato”), which is based in the city. Established in the late Nineties, it has opened more than 100 branches in 12 years. Most are in Italy, with nine branches in Naples alone, but the company is rapidly expanding around the world. Already operating three restaurants in London and one in Birmingham, it plans to open another five per year in the UK.

Starting as a dough ball, the pizza base is pressed into the requisite disc with a raised edge (called the cornicione) by the fingers of the pizza-maker. All that flamboyant whirling in the air that you might have seen is frowned on. The Rossopomodoro pizza is then cooked in a wood-burning stove for 60 to 90 seconds at 485C.

But what goes on top? The zingy sauce made from the San Marzano tomato, grown around Vesuvius, explains why not much else is needed on local pizzas. Ripened by the sun, which shines here for 250 days a year, its flavour benefits from the mineral-rich volcanic soil and deepens during the preserving process.

keep reading to learn about the exclusive buffalo herds used for mozarella and more!

 

 

// Photo – Krissy Ho