First things first, don’t call a dish a “salad.” Most kids don’t like salad or the thought of a salad. Try something more fun like, “We’re having a cherry tomato surprise!” Most kids like surprises.
Next, let them get involved. For this particular easy late-summer dish, even the tiniest hands can help. I slice the tomatoes and my 2-year-old puts them into a bowl. Same goes for the basil. I handle the onions (and more on this in a second), then our 4-year-old adds the olive oil and helps to gently stir.
So the onions. Yes, I left in the long slices of red onion. I know most kids don’t like onions, but there are usually two ways to approach this: Make the onions so small kids won’t see and taste them or make them big enough to easily avoid. We went with the latter. And it worked.
Before another tomato season comes to a close and you say goodbye to summer’s fresh caprese salads, bruschetta, gazpacho and pasta sauce, you should surely indulge in one of the season’s simplest pleasures: a fried green tomato sandwich. Nothing more than an unripe tomato, a green tomato is firm and drier than its red and yellow counterparts, which means it can sustain a coating of batter and won’t fall apart in hot oil.
A dressed-up version of the original, Food Network Magazine’s recipe for easy-to-make Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches (pictured above) features just a few key components: green tomatoes, of course, plus a creamy, spicy sauce, sliced bread (something slightly soft works best so it absorbs the sauce) and a topping of yellow and red tomatoes. The juiciness of ripe tomatoes works well for the topping, as their moisture adds welcome sweetness. To add extra flavor to the green beauties, Food Network Magazine pickles them with dill before frying, then triple coats them in layers of egg wash and cornmeal with chili powder. Once the green tomatoes golden brown and crispy on the outside, build the sandwich with both the fried and raw tomatoes and a smear of mayonnaise-scallion sauce. This spread features a few dashes of hot and Worcestershire sauces, which together create a tangy taste that cuts through the richness of the dish.
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When I saw the heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, I was in. And I wasn’t alone. That afternoon, my 4-year-old and I set out to make this Heirloom Tomato Pie. It took a long time, with many steps, but the results were delicious and best of all, both of us thought so.
The secret to this tart’s success was twofold: fresh, sweet tomatoes, plus the truest rule of getting kids to try new food — let them help cook. Because she had so much skin in the game, our preschooler was nothing but proud of the tart once it came out of the oven. Carefully delivering a teetering plate to each person at the dinner table, she only looked happier at one other moment of the meal: when she tasted the first bite herself.
You can’t win ‘em all, but boy, isn’t it nice to have a hit?
A good tomato sauce, a piping hot slice of margherita pizza, the iconic tomato soup — all of these are made possible by the juicy tomato. Tomatoes add richness to any number of home cooked dishes, whether roasted until the skin falls off or stewed into a multipurpose sauce. Though tomatoes have worked their way into our everyday lives, today we’re viewing them from a different angle. When you’re entertaining this summer, showcase the sophisticated side of the tomato, in all of its in-season glory.
As an appetizer, have guests smear Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Tomato Jam and goat cheese on a fresh baguette. Or create mini pizzas for a bite-sized starter. Giada De Laurentiis uses a cookie cutter in her recipe for Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil, which will disappear the moment they’re set out.
Imagine slicing into Food Network Magazine’s picturesque Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above), with its red and yellow hues amplifying any main dish it meets. Or in Food Network Magazine’s savory Tomato Cobbler, fresh dough and a rich tomato filling reach bubbling perfection together in the oven.
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The September issue of Food Network Magazine is chock-full of tomatoes. Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Tomato Caesar Salad With Bacon-Parmesan Crisps (pictured above) and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches are just a few of the must-try tomato recipes in the issue, but I’d like to add one more to your list: my ideal tomato salad.
It’s nothing more than sliced tomatoes and quick-pickled red onion dressed in a little of the pickling liquid and some good olive oil, but it’s incredible any day of the week. The acidity of the onions complements the tomatoes without overpowering them, while the body and slight sweetness of the olive oil round everything out.
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Hot tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Taste your tomato seeds before using them in a dish: Sometimes the seeds are bitter and can overpower subtle flavors, like the summer squash and wax beans in Food Network Magazine‘s Fettuccine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese. If your tomato has bitter seeds, place them in a strainer along with the pulp, then press out and use the juice only; discard the seeds.
(Photograph by George Doyle/Getty Images)
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring tomatoes.
Come August, tomatoes — heirloom, beefsteak, cherry and more — hit their peak. Plump and juicy, they scream summer with their sweet, slightly acidic flesh and bright hues. Perfect for summer salads, there’s arguably no combination more classic than a simple caprese brimming with ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. But, tomatoes’ versatility far surpasses the realm of summer salads. In fact, they’re fantastic in soups, pies, pastas and sides. Just give one (or more!) of these easy cooked tomato recipes a try.
If you plan on planting your very own tomato patch, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tricks like mulching tomato plants heavily with hay or leaves, and tips like pulling off stem tops to prevent puncturing fruit when stacking. Before you get cooking, be sure to choose firm, noticeably fragrant and richly colored tomatoes that are free of blemishes. Store them at room temperature and use them within a few days.
Hosting a casual garden party? Pass around Rachael’s Roasted Tomato Bruschetta for a simple hors d’oeuvre. Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup and Roasted Tomato Caprese make for a sweet start to any meal. Food Network Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above) serves as a bright main that needs nothing more than a leafy green salad in accompaniment.
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This is a good recipe when you feel like having a few late spring-early summer tomatoes when they are not yet at the height of the season. I find this is a simple and tasty way to extract the maximum flavor from them. I like to take my time with this recipe and work with the grill when it’s not so hot. I really like grilling something and blending that charred flavor into others. That’s why I dig this soup.
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It’s week four of our season-long garden party, Summer Fest 2011, where we welcome food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. So far, we’ve delved into cucumbers and peaches.
As summer’s stifling heat slowly gives way to fall’s refreshing breezes, throw an outside dinner party with tomatoes front and center.
It’s the perfect time to showcase meaty summer tomatoes, dripping with succulent juice and pulpy seeds, in simple appetizers your guests will surely want seconds of.
Start off simple with Rachael’s Tomato and Shrimp Salad With Horseradish Dressing. Large beefsteak tomatoes brighten the plate, while the shrimp adds a heartiness that isn’t overly filling. Whip up Giada’s Calamari, Tomato and Caper Salad in 20 minutes or less for a dish that’s simply executed with lots of fresh lemon, salt and pepper.
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Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.
If you had asked me to make this salad combination a few years ago, I would have been horrified. Ginger and tomatoes may seem natural to some people, but to a closet Francophile, the ginger feels like a senseless crime against tomatoes. It took eating a salad with these elements to convince me I was wrong. I never considered the almost-spicy heat that ginger contains. I love fresh chiles with the sweetness of tomatoes and how ginger functions in virtually the same way. Celery also offers an amazing crunchy texture.
What kind of tomatoes do I use? I love all tomatoes and buy whatever looks best. I will admit, I particularly love Sungold tomatoes — they are so sweet and have a great texture.
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