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Tomatoes: our favorite end-of-the-season recipes

Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette. #vegetarian #vegan

Here in Boston, tomato season passes in the blink of an eye. For a few weeks in August and early September, we overdose on tomatoes from the garden, tomatoes at the farmers markets, tomatoes from generous friends. For the rest of the year, we face the choice of buying plastic tomatoes in the supermarket, or moving to California.

Most of our summer tomatoes go into salads, or on top of toasted bread with a slather of mayonnaise. Some morph into slow-roasted tomatoes to freeze and enjoy during the winter. Here are some of our favorite ways to savor tomatoes in all of their glory.

When tomatoes are at their absolute peak, you need not do more than slice them, and savor them, in the world's best bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

The world's best BLT sandwich, with homemade mayo.

Or, you might choose this Green Goddess bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, with a hit of garlic from an easy Green Goddess dressing. (Grill the bread if you have time.)

Green Goddess BLT, an ethereal sandwich!

To cope with the avalanche of cherry tomatoes at the end of the season, try this wonderful side dish of baked cherry tomatoes.

Baked cherry tomatoes, a delicious side dish.

Another way to use cherry tomatoes, this pan-seared salmon with tomato-caper relish makes an elegant entreé for a dinner party.

Tomato-caper relish tops salmon, or any white fish like halibut or swordfish.

If you like to mix your reds, you'll love this tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette (pictured at top).

As the season winds down, it's time to start making batches of your own slow-roasted tomatoes to stash in the freezer for the winter.

Make a batch or two of slow-roasted tomatoes, and freeze them to use all year long.

Take your slow-roasted tomatoes and the last leaves of basil from the garden, and combine them in a bowl of pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes, basil and olives, an easy back-to-school night dinner.

Pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes, basil and olives uses the best of the season's produce to make an easy weeknight dinner.

What's your favorite way to use the last of the summer tomatoes?

The Perfect Pantry's favorite ways to use the last of summer's tomatoes.

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I have a piece of salmon thawed out in the fridge, so I am going to try your salmon with tomato-caper relish tonight!

And I guess we are lucky to have tomatoes long into the fall in Utah!

Kalyn, that's a great end-of-summer dish. And if you didn't have salmon, you could use another "steak" fish.

Tomato Pie, Please. I've collected 7 recipes and tried 3 so far, all are a slight variation on the theme. So far the best is from a Chef's Life on PBS. Now I'll have to try tomato basil relish with my fish.

Made the tomato-caper relish tonight -- pretty, easy and tasty!

Nancy, I can definitely relate to the search for the perfect tomato pie recipe.

Susan, what did you serve it with?

After living in Honolulu, HI for the past 10-years I’ve become spoiled. If I want fresh vegetables, herbs, certain spices or fruits, I just walk over to the local farm or drive into the next valley or go to my local two supermarkets that sell locally grown produce. I remember living back in New England with our own garden and greenhouse tending to our home grown fresh produce. Hawaii as far as tomatoes are concerned is grown here 12-months out of the year. The peak season is May thru Sept and the moderate season is Oct thru April unless greenhouse or aquaponics is used and it’s pretty hard to tell which farming method was used from the taste! Hawaii has a 365-day 12-month growing cycle for all its vegetables, herbs, spices and fruits as the median daily temperature are 78 F degrees unless you go up into the mountains.

Ken, you are very lucky indeed! I would love a longer tomato season here in New England.

With the tomato-caper relish, a Molly Katzen sweet potato-quinoa-chickpea burger and coleslaw -- very pretty and very tasty and satisfying.

Why aren't we on the mainland, especially here in New England, bringing in produce from Hawaii? In winter we're just as likely to get tomatoes from Canada as from the Southern Hemisphere -- as far away as Hawaii.

@Susan g, in answer to your question; “Why aren't we on the mainland, especially here in New England, bringing in produce from Hawaii?” All seed corn grown on mainland comes from Hawaii and the mainland has started to import other produce grown specifically in Hawaii. In New England, Kauai Coffee (largest coffee farm in United States) is imported and sold in supermarkets (look for blue bag with hula girl). Unfortunately Hawaii grown tea got bought out completely by Harrods, the luxury retailer in London for $4800/lb. and ranked best tea in the world; Hawaii is growing more tea. Hawaii grown cacao (chocolate) is also making its way into New England; Waialua Estate Chocolate, Honolulu was ranked in world competition hosted by France best single estate chocolate in the world. Malie Kai Chocolates, Honolulu also uses Waialua Estate Chocolate. When you dine James Beard Awarded Hawaii Regional Cuisine in Hawaii the dishes are using this chocolate. Hawaiian Vanilla Co. is shipping vanilla beans to mainland and Hawaii grown True Ceylon cinnamon is also being shipped to mainland. Of course Hawaiian macadamia nuts have long been sold on the mainland. Hawaiian grown watermelon, pumpkin, papaya, pineapple, banana, mango and lychee; 48,000 head of cattle and calves each year, farm raised shrimp, Kampachi and Abalone; cabbage, soy bean, cotton and sunflower are exported to the mainland. About 80% state-wide of all produce grown in Hawaii is true organically farmed or ranched.

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