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Behold the Tomato

  • Photos by MARIA ROBLEDO

Get them while they're ripe. Our recipes celebrate the freshest flavors of heirloom tomatoes and their exotic offspring.

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The appeal of the tomato -- once known as the pomme d’amour, or “apple of love” -- endures. Nothing else captures summer so well in one sweet, juicy, complex bite. The beauties shown here come from Wild Boar Farms, in Napa Valley, California. These heirlooms and their new kin, striped and bicolor varieties bred from accidental heirloom crossbreeds, are the stars of our freshest recipes. If you can't find heirlooms, use the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes you can find.

With Chiles and Tomato Essence

Tomato and Mango Salad

With Chiles and Tomato Essence

This colorful mix is dressed with tomato water, which is made by draining pureed tomatoes for a day. It may look pale, but its flavor is astonishing: You’ll want to spoon up every drop.

The Very Essence of the Tomato

Lucinda Scala Quinn shows you how to make "the most tomatoey tomato-flavored liquid" of all. Use it in cold soups, sauces, and drinks.

With Grilled Rustic Bread

Tomato Ombre

With Grilled Rustic Bread

Simply slice a colorful assortment and arrange it on grilled rustic bread that’s been rubbed with garlic and oil. This is a great party trick that delivers lots of impact with very little work.

Yellows & Greens

Variety Pack

The names of Brad Gates’s tomatoes are just as surprising as their looks. Clockwise from left:

‘Golden Gates’ becomes fruitier in flavor the riper it gets.

‘Michael Pollan’ is a "mutant" green zebra tomato named after the noted author.

‘Porkchop,’ far right, has a hint of citrus to its flavor and is one of Gates’s favorite yellow tomatoes.

‘Blue Gold,’ is a bicolor with a fruity flavor. The antioxidant anthocyanin turns the top jet black.


‘Pineapple Pig’ is a sweet and meaty large yellow-striped tomato. It's a real trophy: A single fruit can weigh up to a pound.

With Pasta, Mint, and Toasted Almonds

Green Tomatoes

With Pasta, Mint, and Toasted Almonds

The green tomatoes used in this simple pasta dish aren’t unripe; they retain their color even when ready to eat. And they have a slightly grassy flavor that comes from extra chlorophyll in the flesh. One variety you may have seen is ‘Green Zebra.’ It's a pleasantly tart “new heirloom” that dates from the 1980s and is a relative newcomer -- compared with 19th-century heirlooms. This is an ideal supper for a hot evening; just looking at it makes you feel cool.

With Cherries, Balsamic, and Hyssop

Heirloom Tomatoes

With Cherries, Balsamic, and Hyssop

Any large, meaty pink-red to deep-red heirloom, such as ‘Brandywine’ or ‘Cherokee Purple,’ makes a substantial bed for the playful combination of cherry tomatoes and Bing cherries. We love the fragrance of anise hyssop, but mint, basil, or tarragon will also work nicely here.

Striped, Bicolor, and Blue

Well-Bred

One thing Gates’s bicolor, striped, and blue tomatoes have in common is wonderful flavor. Clockwise from the top:

‘Blue Beauty’: a classic, meaty “beefsteak.”

‘Trenton’s Tiger’: a sweet egg-shaped variety.

‘Indigo Apple’: sweet and tomatoey, this is the darkest tomato around.

‘Blue Boar Berry’: a cherry tomato that adds drama and an excellent balance of sugar and acidity to any salad bowl.

‘Black and Brown Boar’: a pinkish-brown tomato with green stripes and very flavorful pink flesh.

‘Red Boar’: a small red tomato with yellow stripes that tastes as good as it looks.

With Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata

Tomatoes

With Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata

Tomatoes and eggplants both have a long growing season and ripen at the same time, so it’s natural for their flavors to go together. For our crisp fried eggplant, we used slices of the slender Japanese variety -- they cook quickly without soaking up too much oil and becoming heavy.
All you need to round out dinner is fresh tomatoes, creamy burrata cheese, and aromatic basil.

Comments (1)

  • Khstarr10 21 Jul, 2014

    Great Photos & Recipes. Sure hope I can find some of those Blue Beefsteak Tomatoes!YumYum!

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