Oh, Sweet Summer Tomato

I realized today that there’s less than three weeks of summer vacation before school starts! (WHAT??!!). So, in honor of keeping summer break going as long as possible, I am sharing a delicious easy recipe for roasted tomatoes I’ve been making on repeat and using as a topping for roasted salmon and grilled chicken.

Look for locally grown tomatoes, if you can find them. During summer, most grocery stores carry Heirloom Tomatoes and amazing candy-sweet cherry tomatoes in an open basket (the sweet 100’s and sun golds are my fav, I get them at Whole Foods or the Farmers Market). The tomatoes that are sold year round in the plastic containers are not nearly as delicious as the local tomatoes.

Family Dinner Ideas for Tomatoes

I’m loving tomatoes raw:
  • By the handful (cut cherry tomatoes in half or quarters for little kids and toddlers since they can be a choking hazard).
  • Add to green salads.
  • Simple Tomato Salad: Sliced heirloom tomatoes drizzled with kosher salt, sprinkled with olive oil. Top with chopped cucumbers, fresh mint, goat cheese and/or kalamata olives.
  • Caprese: Layer thickly sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, and basil leaves then drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Watermelon-Tomatoes Skewers: Using a toothpick or small skewer alternate a cherry tomato, cubed watermelon, a mint or basil leaf, and a cube of feta or mozzarella cheese.
  • Gazpacho: Blend up heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, red onion, cilantro….a splash of sherry vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil in the blender (recipe coming soon!)
I’m loving tomatoes cooked:
  • Roast cherry tomatoes (recipe below) and use as a topping for grilled salmon or grilled chicken. Or serve roasted tomatoes next to a chunk of burrata, a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy salt, and serve with fresh baguette (amazing appetizer!).
  • Easy pasta sauce: Sauté cherry tomatoes (sliced in half) or larger tomatoes (diced) with chopped garlic and olive oil over medium heat until tomatoes are softened and garlic is beginning to brown. Toss with cooked pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Cut heirloom tomatoes in half, place each half on a parchment lined baking sheet cut side up. Sprinkle with panko/breadcrumbs (add parm cheese to the mix if desired) and coarsely chopped garlic, drizzle with olive oil, put in 400 oven for 20-ish minutes. Bake until golden brown. Recipe here.

Tomatoes: Helping Your Kids Explore New Tastes

You want to expose your kids to new foods, flavors, and textures (even if they don’t want to taste it…yet!).

Summer is a great time to get kids to explore new fruits and vegetables because produce this time of year is AMAZING, so flavorful, so sweet, so colorful, so juicy. Also, most summer fruit and vegetables can be enjoyed “as is” (read: no cooking) or with little prep time.

Tomato Tasting: Challenge kids to see if they can tell the difference between red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, and green tomatoes. Questions to ask: which are sweeter, which has more seeds, which has bigger seeds, which has smaller seeds.

Use salts: I love using salts to encourage kids to try new foods. They like to sprinkle it themselves. Try something crunchy like Maldon or finer like Pink Himalayan. Or  Smoked Salts, Truffle Salts, and even Black Lava Salts

Dip Them: Pair tomatoes with dips like yogurt….or have kids build cherry tomatoes stacks on a stick with mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Get Kids Involved Together In The Kitchen

  • Kids can wash and dry tomatoes.
  • Slice the mozzarella with a kid safe knife (the cheese is soft and will cut easily with supervision).
  • Build their own tomato, watermelon, feta skewers (be careful if the tips can be sharp).
  • Drizzle the oil, vinegar.
  • Sprinkle the salt.

Recipe for Roasted Tomatoes

  • Set oven for 400 degrees.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread 2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes out on parchment paper. Cut any larger cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Drizzle olive oil, kosher salt, and 3 cloves peeled, coarsely chopped garlic over the tomatoes then toss together.
  • Roast tomatoes in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and slightly caramelized. Stir tomatoes every 10 minutes for even roasting.
  • Remove baking sheet from the oven, allow tomatoes to cool about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve over Simple Salmon (recipe below) or grilled chicken.

Recipe for Simple Salmon

  • Place one pound piece of King salmon on parchment lined backing sheet.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake at 400 for about 15 – 20 minutes until salmon is cooked through (a fork pierces the salmon easily). Coho salmon or Copper River Salmon will take less time to cook.

Happy Cooking!

Love,
Michelle

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