25 Recipes that Make the Most of Perfect Summer Tomatoes

Give tomatoes the spotlight they deserve.

Jul 26 2018, 7:00pm

It’s the mooooost wonderful tiiiiime oooof the yearrrrr! It feels like it’s about to be, quite literally, Christmas in July up in here, y’all, and you know why? Because it’s tomato season, motherfuckers. There is nothing that pretentious foodies love to harp on about more than the fact that the grocery store tomatoes available all year long are so unquestionably inferior to those harvested during the peak of summer. We cop to the fact that we’re among the legion that flock to the farmers’ market looking for the lumpiest, most alien-looking heirloom tomatoes we can find. We might have been known to wax poetic once or twice about the purity of a salted tomato and Hellman’s mayonnaise on sourdough bread as the ultimate summer sandwich. We’re probably, as you read this, cleaning out our Mason jar collection and getting ready to can several flats of tomatoes so we can crack open one of those bad boys in the dead of winter and catch a whiff of summer, even if just for one fleeting moment. The point we want to make here, though, is that we’re not over-hyping the importance of the perfectly ripe summer tomato. They really are that much better than the canned ones, and especially better than the mealy, watery beefsteaks you’re gonna have to resort to in the produce aisle in December. So don’t waste this opportunity to really let tomatoes shine. We rounded up some of our favorite recipes that call for fresh, summer-ripened tomatoes, and really show off what that blessed little nightshade can do.

Sungold tomatoes are a hybrid that have become extremely popular with the cheffy set because of their superb sweetness and vibrant golden-sunset-esque hue. Make a big batch of this sauce and slather it on toast for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Catch your tomatoes early, while they’re a little underripe and perfectly tart, to make this spicy jam that would work excellently on a cheese and charcuterie plate for your next backyard hang.

A good, juicy tomato only needs a touch of salt and some balsamic vinegar to basically dress itself. With nothing besides some shallots and capers in this salad, there’s no better way to put your glorious tomatoes on full display.

Pasta, tomatoes, a bit of salumi, some salty cheese like ricotta salata, and olive oil come together to make a simple, light pasta salad that you can eat for days.

Blistering your tomatoes brings out the sweetness, and creamy avocado helps mellow the acidity.

We’re not saying you *can’t* make salsa any other time of year, but we can promise you that it will taste an order of magnitude better if you’re using fresh summer tomatoes.

This version of the classic refreshing summery dish, gazpacho, comes from acclaimed chef Greg Baxtrom of Brooklyn’s Olmstead, and uses tart green tomatoes and cucumbers to achieve that vibrant hue.

Panzanella salad is the “salad” for people who actually just want to eat a sandwich and/or aren’t really all that into greens. Char up some good bread and let everything macerate in nice olive oil and vinegar for a quintessential summer meal.

Leave your tomatoes on the vine while blistering them over an open flame, and work on getting those perfect cross-hatched grill marks on your eggplants, for a truly impressive presentation.

We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest turning your tomatoes into a bruschetta and serving it up on toasty slices of Italian bread—for an easy appetizer, or work lunch.

There’s more than one way to preserve the bounty of summer tomatoes. Try pickling cherry tomatoes instead of canning them to stretch the season a little longer.

This xihongshi chao recipe makes for a perfect weekend breakfast, but we wouldn’t mind heaping these eggs up on toast for a light weeknight dinner, too.

The simplicity of this salad—little more than romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and anchovies—makes it the perfect choice for a dinner party on a warm summer night, even though you’ll have to turn the oven on for a few minutes. (It’ll be worth it!)

This recipe for fresh okra and tomatoes stewed down with some smoky bacon and vegetable stock comes from culinary historian and food writer Michael Twitty, and its the perfect example of how tomatoes get their due in the summer in the South.

Sure, we’ll stand by mayonnaise and tomato sandwiches as one of the best and quickest ways to get a good, ripe tomato down your gullet, but swapping out the mayo for some nice schmaltz and using tart, green tomatoes instead of sweet red ones isn’t a bad idea either.

Trick all your pasta-loving dinner guests with these “noodles” made out of yuba, or tofu skins, for a totally gluten-free version of the classic pasta all’amatriciana.

We could probably eat fried green tomatoes every day of the week, and therefore would not be mad if you put this gluttonous beast of a steak-and-foie-gras sandwich in front of us. BRB, gotta figure out how to unclog our arteries after this one.

A light char on these scallops, tomatoes, and corn cobs brings out the sweetness in all three ingredients, and a bright, herby sauce rounds everything out.

We’re a big fan of any recipe that prominently features tomatoes and lots of fresh basil leaves, since we generally can’t get enough of that combo.

This recipe from our good pal Matty Matheson uses just about every good veggie the summer months have to offer, and especially does not skimp on the tomatoes. Bonus: it comes together in just a half hour for a quick weeknight dinner option.

What can you do to truly honor the whole tomato plant that’s given you such delicious fruit all season long? Trim down its vines and infuse them into vinegar for a condiment you can use long after the summer’s over.

This unconventional cocktail from Sam Anderson of Mission Chinese combines the tartness of small yellow cherry tomatoes with the savoriness of fine seaweed for a drink you won’t soon forget.

Sear up some seasoned tempeh slabs and use some hot-sauce-streaked vegan mayo for a better-than-your-average BLT.

Fresh, creamy burrata, uber-ripe tomatoes and balsamic vinegar are sort of the trifecta of summer snacking. This recipe “serves 4,” but we won’t judge if you crush the whole thing by yourself.

This simple, refreshing chopped salad can be served as a side dish to virtually anything you’ve got going on for lunch or dinner, so make a big batch that'll last you a while.