What to Do with Perfect Tomatoes

July  8, 2016

There's something to be said for vegetable integrity—that is, meals that preserve the way a vegetable really tastes even when it's tempting to doll it up. The tomato is one of the best examples of this: As soon as tomatoes roll into high season in late July, all I want to do is start assembling the makings for tomato sauce to have around all year. But when they're are as good as they are right now, it's worth holding off on the sauce and instead preparing tomatoes in ways that celebrate the superlative Tomato without much else standing in the way. Here are 10 recipes—more instruction for assembly than recipe, really—that do just that:

Herb Baked Tomatoes by Posie Harwood

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Fattoush by Rivka



The Fabulous, Legendary Fried Provolone and Tomato Sandwich by lastnightsdinner



Brown Butter Tomatoes by Amanda Hesser

Brown butter 


Pan con Tomate with Burrata by meganvt01



Tomato Skin Salt by Lindsay-Jean Hard



Summer Raw Pasta Sauce with Spaghetti by Pinch&Swirl



Tomato Salad with Corn, Summer Squash, and Roasted Onions by Merrill Stubbs



Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast by Kenzi Wilbur



A Tomato Sandwich Worthy of a Little Bacon by inpatskitchen


This piece originally ran August 10, 2015. We're running an updated version today because there's nothing we want more than a perfect 'mater.

Say you've got a couple of really perfect tomatoes. What will you do with them? Tell us in the comments.

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Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


denise M. August 29, 2017
Two thick slices fried up with some butter and Old Bay. Then put on top of buttered , toasted English Muffin. Make two sunnyside up eggs, with melted cheddar on top...a little S & P....then slide over and on top of the tomatoe slices..My favorite summertime breakfast.
Susan July 15, 2016
Sliced tomatoes on soft bread, with homemade mayo and topped with thinly sliced cukes, pinch of kosher salt and ground pepper. Heaven in a summer sandwich. Serve with cold, cold glass of milk.
Laura G. July 13, 2016
Tomato #1: Slice, salt and eat straight.

Tomatoes #2-??: with fresh basil, chives or tarragon; on a piece of garlic rubbed sourdough toast; tossed with mozzarella or burrata; sprinkled with balsamic or red wine vinegar.

And sometimes all of the above, at once. Maybe after that I'll branch out: gazpacho, panzanella, or some other tomato-based salad…
Lorenagena October 11, 2015
I have never found a better combination than beautifully ripe tomatoes with fresh mozzarella di buffala and fresh cut basil topped with a splash of quality Olive Oil and got it! Insalata Caprese!! Bennissimo!
Nancy J. August 27, 2015
We recently used your recipe Uova al Pomodoro (Eggs Poached in tomato sauce). Our out of town guests requested this more than once...we loved it and the bonus was walking out to the vegetable garden early in the morning to pick the tomatoes.
Ana M. August 27, 2015
I my home tomatoes are considered a complete salad. When they are good, all you need is to bite into them ...
Linda A. August 26, 2015
Sliced tomatoes with thinly sliced cucumbers and onions in sweetened cider vinegar (1/2 vinegar, 1/2 sugar and a splash of water.)
Tommy August 26, 2015
I make a Dagwood sandwich at lunch and what's left goes in the fridge for that night in a sealed container or wrap. I've been combining that with sliced okra and various things like onion or not, grilled shrimp at the last minute. Last night I brought in a pizza with no tomatoes on top and added my own, roughly chopped and reheated. Shabbiness quotient: 0.
Robin August 26, 2015
Slice open French bread, spread with butter, garlic powder and salt. Lay on sliced tomatoes and Italian herbs, then slices of mozzarella. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 for 15 min. Tomato bread!
Jill A. August 26, 2015
SLOW ROAST the tomatoes. Skin side up atop fresh oregano, garlic and olive oil. Roast 300° for approx 2 hours. Store in fridge for a few weeks or freeze in snack zip bags to use this winter. Intense awesome flavor!
Kathi P. August 18, 2015
The salad we look forward to every year involves tossing some shaggy ripped up chunks of sour dough bread with grated garlic/olive oil and toasting them in the oven, salted. Then you cut or tear up a mixture of heirloom tomatoes and toss them with the croutons and torn up pieces of fresh mozzarella (hopefully homemade) and some chile flakes. The dressing is a bunch of blanched basil pureed with olive oil. This is an AMAZING salad :)
Pratsina G. August 12, 2015
Try some lovage or similar herb like woodruff with it.
Alan D. August 11, 2015
Try this Neapolitan tomato salad and never make a Caprese again
Coco E. August 10, 2015
Grew up in southern Taiwan dipping wedges of fresh ripe tomatoes in a mixture of grated ginger, thick soy sauce and icing sugar. The ginger is a must!
AntoniaJames August 10, 2015
I just happen to have a bowl full of perfect, dead ripe summer tomatoes, which I'll be slicing and combining with golden beets (cooked yesterday for this purpose), with a light, mustardy vinaigrette.

I'm not sure why you don't see beets paired with tomatoes more often - the combination really works! (I posted a recipe a few years ago - Strawberries are optional but a fun addition.)
702551 August 10, 2015
I just keep it simple and usually just slice, put on toast, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. This is a great opportunity to use a fancy finishing salt like Maldon. Over the years I've tried so many other preparations, but I've decided that this is the best way to savor the flavor of a perfect tomato.

If I have too many I often find myself making salsa.

Of course, making sauce is a way of dealing with a lot of tomatoes, but I typically buy the overripe ones for sauce making. At least one of the stands at my farmers market sells discounted sort-outs. Seems like a shame to cook a perfect tomato, it's better and more cost efficient to use overripe ones instead.