Updated: Aug 25
August is one of the best months to find delicious tomatoes in the farmer's market. The star of the Mediterranean cuisines, tomatoes come in various shapes, colors, varieties and tastes. From the mini cherry tomatoes to the heirlooms, from San Marzanos to generous cœur de bœuf (beefsteak), from the yellow pineapples to the Black Krims, there is a favorite tomato for everyone's taste. While tomatoes are botanically classified as berries (yes, they are in fact fruits!) they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient although I love to mix them with other fruits like strawberries, watermelon, cherries, peaches and nectarines to come up with lovely salads, summer soups or olive oil dishes.
Tomato is the second most popular vegetable in France after the potato. They are visually beautiful and gastronomically they offer a wide of range of choices. They can be tasted raw or cooked, and in many dishes, sauces, pastes, salads, savory pastries, mezes, desserts and drinks. I love their umami flavor!
Tomatoes are loaded with potassium, vitamins B&E, and lycopene- the antioxidant which fights free radicals that can damage cells and affect the immune system. Their health benefits are another reason to enjoy them!
What about some 'tostada con tomate' with garlic, olive oil and 'fleur de sel' salt for a Spanish breakfast? Some Greek tomato fritters 'domatokeftedes' for lunch? Or Tuscan bread soup 'pappa al pomodoro' -it is no wonder that Italians call it "golden apple"! Some stuffed Turkish 'dolma' for dinner? Or eggs poached in tomato, pepper, onion sauce 'shakshouka'? Who can say 'no' to a refreshing tomato&cherry sorbet for a hot summer night? The choice is endless, the choice is yours.
After blanching or grating your tomatoes always save and don't throw away the tomato skins. Turn them into a healthy and versatile seasoning. This is an easy, one ingredient, no waste recipe.
HOMEMADE TOMATO FLAKES/POWDER:
-Place the tomato skins on a parchment lined baking sheet in one layer.
-Bake the skins at 90°C about an hour turning to the other side after 30 minutes. Check frequently so that they are completely dried but not burned. (You can also use a food dehydrator if you have one)
-After the skins have cooled down, use a food processor to have delicious tomato flakes or a coffee grinder to have an equally tasty tomato powder.
Sprinkle on pizza, use in sandwich and toasts, put on soups and salads, season meat, chicken, vegetable or cheese.