Tomato season, finally

Published 4:03 pm Friday, June 11, 2010

I had a wonderful dinner last night – tomato sandwich! The tomato was perfectly ripened and tasted as if I had grown it in my own garden. That can only mean that tomato season has arrived.

Having a tomato during the summer is so much different than having a tomato in the winter. The fruit tastes better and has a flavor unlike anything else.

I got to thinking after having that juicy slice of goodness on white bread with mayonnaise that there are plenty of other tasty things you can do with a tomato. It’s hard to beat a tomato sandwich when the fruit is in season, but if you must try something else, I’ve found a few ideas.

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One recipe that I’ve used so many times with great results is a tomato pie. Now, don’t turn your nose up to this until you’ve given it a try. If you like bacon and tomato sandwiches, this dish will be a hit, too.

Another good thing about this recipe is that it’s just as tasty if you use tomatoes that aren’t quite ripe. Either way, this one’s a winner for me.

I’ve also included a recipe for fresh salsa. This recipe is great if you have plenty of tomatoes ready to be used.

Tomato Pie

9-inch deep-dish piecrust, unbaked

2 large tomatoes, sliced

½ small onion, sliced

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 (12 oz.) pkg, bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded cheese (your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry bacon, drain and crumble. Layer tomatoes and onions alternately until all are used. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and scatter crumbled bacon pieces on top. Mix mayonnaise and cheese together and spread on top of tomatoes and onions. Bake for 35 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before slicing. This pie is great hot, warm or cold.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

4 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes

¼ cup onion, chopped finely

1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Let stand for about an hour to allow flavors to meld. Store covered in refrigerator.

By the way, I don’t have a garden this year so tomatoes from the backyard won’t be happening at my house. If you have more tomatoes than you need, I’d be happy to take them off your hands.

Happy summer!