Growing up in New Jersey, tomato season was just as exciting as the holiday season in December. Whether you prefer red beefsteaks, stripey heirlooms, or adorable cherry tomatoes, late July and early August are the time to enjoy 'em. To be honest, a late summer sun-ripened tomato hardly needs any preparation — I know someone who eats them whole, like apples! If you're looking for some inspiration, though, check out the recipes below. These five dishes highlight tomatoes' textures, flavors, and colors without stealing the spotlight.
Tomato, Nectarine, and Mozzarella Salad via Food 52
It's amazing how just one simple addition can transform a classic Caprese salad from tasty to awe-inspiring. Thin slices of ripe nectarine bring out the sweetness in tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and basil.
Photo: Sarah Shatz / Food52
Gazpacho via Quiche-A-Week
It's a little bit spicy, a little bit tangy, and totally cool and refreshing. Gazpacho is an ideal heat-wave lunch or dinner and a great way to use up produce that's starting to look a little wilted. Serve it with crusty bread, a big green salad, or just a spoon.
Photo: Molly Wilkof / Quiche-a-Week
Tomato Sandwiches via The Devil Wears Parsley
We've got nothing but love for this simple, super-basic tomato sandwich. Toast some bread, flavor it with garlic and a bit of butter, and add sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and basil leaves. Pro tip: For an extra-pretty open-faced sammie spring for multi-hued heirloom tomatoes.
Photo: Natalie Wiser-Orozco / The Devil Wears Parsley
Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Chickpeas via TasteFood
This beautiful dish is tasty either hot or cold and transitions perfectly from summer through to autumn. Fresh cherry tomatoes balance out the richer flavors of chicken and chickpea. Plus, it all comes together in less than 45 minutes.
Photo: Lynda Balslev / TasteFood
Caprese Flatbread with Balsamic Reduction via Joyful Healthy Eats
This pizza variety offers yet another (delicious) twist on the classic Caprese salad. Roast cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, then pile them on a whole-wheat flatbread (prepared or homemade) alongside plenty of mozzarella and garlic. Bake for ten minutes, then top with shredded basil and balsamic.
Photo: Krista Rollins / Joyful Healthy Eats
What's your favorite way to use tomatoes? Do you have a theme you'd like to see on The Greatist Table in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.