Nothing smells more like summer than ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. Whether they’re fresh, tinned, dried or made into passata, they’re the all-time kitchen essential. They’re easy to grow at home and you can get them all year round, but British tomatoes are at their best from June to October. They’re rich in vitamin C (immune boosting) and contain powerful antioxidants called lycopene which have been linked to a number of health benefits. Tomatoes can be thrown into lots of dishes like omelettes and pasta, or used as the base of stews and curries. Here are our favourite ways to enjoy tomatoes and some delicious flavour combo’s:
1. Moroccan shakshuka
If you’ve got a little extra time at the weekend, you’ll definitely want to cook this up for brunch. It’s packed full of flavour and all you need is peppers, tomatoes, eggs and a few spices. It’s bursting with vitamin C (immune system) from the tomatoes and peppers, and the eggs will keep you full for hours. It tastes great served with some fresh herbs and a toasted Food Doctor pitta bread.
2. Stuffed with rice
Juicy stuffed tomatoes, or known in Italy as pomodori al riso, is a popular Italian summer dish, with lots of bakeries serving them with golden roasted potatoes. Scoop out the tomato flesh and combine it in a bowl with fresh herbs like parsley, red onion, wholegrain rice, pepper, feta cheese, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place the filling back in the tomato, bake in the oven and enjoy hot or cold.
3. Hot or cold soup
Tomato soup is super easy to make and doesn’t take very long to cook. All you need is olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, stock, salt and pepper, as well as maybe a red pepper, celery and fennel, and if you’re after a more substantial soup you can add lentils. For a refreshing soup that’s bursting with the flavours of the Mediterranean, dish yourself up a gazpacho.
One of our favourite ways to enjoy tomatoes is eating them raw with some good quality mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic dressing. You can also chop the tomatoes up and enjoy them on a piece of grilled bruschetta with capers, red onion and olives, or in a salad with salty feta, pesto and pine nuts.
This is one of the best ways to use up a glut of tomatoes from the garden. You can create a rich tomato chutney to enjoy with cheese by gently simmering tomatoes with red onion, chilli, red wine vinegar and a little sugar or honey. You could also create a tomato sauce using olive oil, onion, garlic and oregano, that you can freeze and use in pasta and other dishes like aubergine parmigiana.