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Jul 31, 2012 11:46 AM

Looking for recipes that allow me to use my damaged tomatoes

I have a half-dozen or so slicing tomatoes (Celebrity) that somehow didn't grow properly...they have extreme vertical splitting on the top. However, the bottoms look OK. If I cut them open and I can use them, what can I make with 6 half tomatoes? We don't eat THAT many sandwiches.

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  1. You can make a quick single server marinara if you simmer with garlic oil and your favorite spices.....or make a nice summer tomato salad....cucumbers onions etc.

    1. I use my "odd" tomatoes in a gazpacho and add a bit of tomato juice if I want more servings. You can also do a fresh sauce over some pasta, or cook them with some zucchinis. Actually, I think the options are endless!

        1. I would say use them for whatever you would have if they weren't split. Maybe I'm not understanding the question?

          8 Replies
          1. re: kengk

            They are slicing tomatoes, the insides don't have a lot of "meat" to them. They don't work well as chunks in salads. (well, maybe really big chunks.) So I wasn't sure what I could do with them as they work best in slices. Then again, I'm an elementary cook, which is why I posted the question here. Mostly, I've only used toms in salads and on sandwiches. I use roma toms to make marinara.

            1. re: E_M

              make do with them in a salad...make salsa...a super-quick tomato sauce (saute a little garlic in olive oil, toss in the chunked tomatoes and some fresh basil -- toss for a few seconds to JUST warm the tomatoes, and dump them over hot pasta....soup...tomato pie (basically a quiche with sliced tomatoes)...or just stand there in the kitchen, eating them over the sink and letting the juice run down your chin (my favorite use for homegrown tomatoes)

              1. re: E_M

                OK. Slicing tomatoes are pretty much the only kind I grow and use them for everything. From sandwiches to sauce to canning.

                If you want to get rid of some of the jelly and seeds, just slice the stem end off and poke your finger down into the chambers to loosen it up and then gently squeeze out.

                1. re: kengk

                  I believe it was on ATK or Cooks Country that they reported that the strongest tomato flavor is in the jelly surrounding the seeds. If seeds bother you in cooked preparations, use a food mill or sieve to get them out while retaining the jelly.

                2. re: E_M

                  I'm with kengk. I'd use them for anything I'd normally use them for. All I grow are Celebrity Supreme and Celebrity tomatoes and I use them in any application from diced tomatoes to sliced to fresh tomato sauce. If you've never made a fresh tomato sauce using Celebrity Supremes or Celebrities I HIGHLY encourage you to try it. It will probably be one of the very best tomato sauces you've ever had.

                  I'm guessing irregular watering caused the splitting. You may want to look into plasticulture. It will solve this problem. It is a much easier way to garden while yielding much superior results to conventional gardening - which is why almost 90% of all commercially grown tomatoes in the United States are grown using plasiticulture.

                    1. re: E_M

                      Sort of. I'm happy to share the method I use though.

                      Using the widest saute pan you have (or pot if you don't have a wide, deep pan), sweat onion and garlic in extra-virgin olive oil then add chopped tomatoes (skins, seeds, and all).

                      Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes have "juiced up". Cook, stirring every 15 minutes or so, at a low boil until the liquid has reduced to whatever thickness you like. The way I know it's reduced enough is this: When I walk away from a cooking sauce for 10 or so minutes, the thin juice rises to the top - that's what we're trying to evaporate. The more the sauce reduces, the less juice there is on top of the solids at the bottom of the pan. When this juice is essentially gone and all I'm left with is the solids (that will have turned into a puree by now), then I know it's done.

                      Run this through a food mill and return the puree to the pan/pot. Add a few freshly cut tomato leaves, fresh chopped basil, and fresh chopped oregano to taste (or don't add any herbs at all - it's still amazing with out either) and simmer for 5 minutes. (The tomato leaves add a fresh tomato flavor back to the sauce.)

                      Remove the tomato leaves. Add extra-virgin olive oil of you'd like. Season with kosher salt, no pepper, to taste.

                      The natural sugars that are brought out in these tomatoes by reducing them this much will wow you.

                      1. re: 1POINT21GW

                        And before anyone starts screaming about tomato leaves being poisonous -- as I was about to do -- you might want to read this:


              2. For lunch today, I took the same type of tomato you are describing and made it into a delicious treat like my mother used to serve us, though I have my own twist.

                I seasoned the cut side and quickly cooked on that side on high heat in a little oil to get a bit of caramelization going, then topped with a mound of cheddar cheese and sprinkled with seasoned breadcrumbs (these were my own croutons that I crumbled, but you can use panko and add a sprinkling of herbs). I baked at 400F until the topping was bubbling. This is a great side dish or lunch main course.