14 Ways to Enjoy Ripe Tomatoes

Tomatoes have arrived. Tomatoes that actually have flavor, that taste sun kissed, and have ripened naturally.

I herald the arrival of the fresh summer tomatoes just as enthusiastically as flip-flops and sundresses. Like most produce, they are best enjoyed simply adorned.

Marinated Tomatoes

Here’s what I’m suggesting you do right now. Yep, before you’ve had your morning coffee, before you even open Google Reader.
Go select five or six of the ripest summer tomatoes on your counter and gather extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, a few cloves of firm garlic, and some fresh herbs. They can be basil, oregano, or thyme.

Wash & slice the tomatoes, then tip them into a large bowl. Drench them in olive oil (1/2 cup) and add salt & pepper. Crush the garlic, chop the herbs and toss everything together. Let it marinade on the kitchen counter until lunch.

Now you’ve got an ace up your sleeve; a base for a handful of delicious meals.

14 Variations on how to use your marinated tomatoes

1. Halve a baguette, char it slightly on the grill, pile tomatoes on top. Serve with plenty of napkins.

2. Butter a baking dish, layer tomatoes with thinly sliced onion, top with breadcrumbs and cheese of your choice. Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted. Serve with a side of grilled steak.

3. Add in fresh mozzarella or bocconcini cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a summer salad worthy of inviting the neighbors over for.

4. Toss with piping hot, cooked capellini pasta and dinner is served.

5. Stuff a whole-wheat pita with the marinated tomatoes. Add sliced cucumber and a dollop of sour cream (or tzatziki). Grilled lamb optional.

6. Drain liquid, and arrange some of the tomatoes on a pizza base. Dot with black olives, top with cheese and bake until crust is brown. Anchovies are recommended.

7. Bake rounds of French baguette until crispy. Pile tomatoes onto the crostini and dot with fresh goat’s cheese for a fast bruschetta.

8. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar to the marinated tomatoes. Allow to sit another hour or so. Pour into a blender (omitting the obvious chunks of garlic) and puree into a refreshing soup. Serve chilled. (Lovely with yellow tomatoes.)

9. Slather a 9’ uncooked tart shell with pesto. Drain tomatoes and arrange some of them in a ½ inch layer over pesto. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake until pastry is golden.

10. Place 6-8 raw jumbo shrimp in the middle of a square of aluminum foil. Bury them in the marinated tomatoes and fold up the sides of the foil. Seal foil. Toss on the BBQ for 7-9 minutes. Remove and enjoy a steaming, fragrant broth with perfectly pink shrimp.

11. Squeeze half a lemon over the marinated tomatoes. Crumble in several handfuls of pita crisps; toss together, and serve over torn romaine lettuce.

12. Add in diced red onion, a splash of red wine vinegar, and the fattest olives you can find, and mound everything into a bowl. Crumble feta on top and dig in.

13. Toast thick slices of rustic country bread. Spread with mayonnaise and top with a generous amount of sliced marinated tomatoes. Top with crisped bacon and lettuce. Enjoy and don’t forget to wipe your chin.

14. Make a Roasted Tomato & Chevre Phyllo Tart.

How are you serving up your tomatoes?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. ooo yum
    just about every single one of these ideas sound delicious – ofcourse it doesn’t help that i haven’t eaten properly this morning !!! YUMMY!!!
    thanks for sharing

    Betty bake

  2. I do not have any ripening tomatoes sitting on my counter top. *sniffle* I am now extremely hungry, though…

  3. Karen Robert says

    YUM. I’m sharing these ideas with my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

  4. Aimee & the gang,

    I gave you a Sunshine Award! Thanks so much for sharing snippets of your life with us…



  5. Perfect timing! I just arrived home last night and have several ripe tomatoes that I was just wondering what to do with. My grandmother and I always used to slice up some fresh, ripe tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar to enjoy. Nothing fancy.

  6. Oh my- Now I’m STARVING and all I want is a tomato sandwich! Our tomatoes got a late start this year but I’m definitely bookmarking this for when they’re read! YUM!

  7. This post came at a perfect time! In a week or so I will have more tomatoes than we could ever eat on a salad… and needed some good ideas. Thanks!
    .-= Kendra’s last blog: Discovering Waldorf: 1 =-.

  8. This post makes me so hungry. My tomatoes aren’t ready yet, but they look pretty good. It’s been hot and rainy, much better than last year when it was so cool all summer. I can’t wait to waltz out to the garden and pick ripe tomatoes!

  9. Oh what a tease! Up here in the Pacific NW there are no tomatoes yet. My poor, sad plants are about 8″ tall, no flowers yet. We haven’t seen the sun in ages. The peas are happy, but no tomatoes yet. I’ll bookmark this for later 🙂

  10. Last night I had a nice caprese salad. Tomatoes marinated in balsamic was so good.
    .-= Melissa’s last blog: Simple. Fresh. Dessert. =-.

  11. You could make me drool all over my keyboard….
    Fabulous ideas, Aimee!

    • Lee Martin says

      Tomato Jam
      3 C cut up toms
      2C sugar
      1 box lemon jello
      Cook from boiling point for 15 min. Take from stove and add 1 box lemon jello
      Stir and fill 4 jam jars!

  12. Some fabulous ideas. I’m bookmarking this for later in the summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes.

  13. Oh my word! I couldn’t even read this whole article because my mouth is WATERING. I got an unexpected summer gift last week when I was FINALLY (after 6 long months) able to eat tomatoes without doing a number on the nursing baby. Can’t wait to test all these ideas.
    .-= Alissa’s last blog: This and That and a Haircut =-.

  14. Delicious ideas!

    My suggestion to marinate tomatoes:
    – cut tomatoes in half
    – place them in a baking sheet, skin side up. Place in the oven and bake until skin starts to peel
    – remove from oven, let cool. Remove from oven and let cool.
    – peel the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, oregano and coarse sea salt.

  15. It can also be good on some scrambled egg with some sauce. I had discover it back when I was still young where my mother use to cooked some extra ordinary recipe’s to keep our appetite and make us crave for more. Try it for you might also like it and your kids to just like the way I did.

  16. My sister hates of tomato but I always like it…I put a link, full of recipe with tomato for everyone that loves tomato like me 😉

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