Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's Top 5 Not Perfect Tomatoes

They're ripe....but bruised or not quite perfect? Here's the plan!

Off The Menu with Dara Grumdahl
September 06, 2019 - 2:36 pm

(Getty Images / delmonte1977)

I was walking through the farmer’s market the other day at closing time, and all the tomatoes that were left were marked down, and they looked fantastic. And I thought: Those tomatoes are not going to waste! Not on my watch.  Not just because food waste is bad, but because these are so many good things to do with those not-perfect sun-ripened summer tomatoes, and you can only do those good things right now. They won’t be the same with canned tomatoes in winter. And they’re great! Like these.

RELATED: See all of Dara's top 5 lists here!

Tomato Cocktails
Fresh tomato bloody Mary’s are a most excellent thing to make in the summer, throw your tomatoes in the blender, strain them, you’re half way there. But top bartenders are doing more stuff with them, like muddling yellow tomatoes with Mezcal. That idea comes from the Dead Rabbit in New York, which is a scary name for a bar that makes very welcoming drinks.

Spanish Tomato Bread
Everywhere you go in Catalonia you get a sort of garlic bread which, instead of being made with butter and cheese, is made with olive oil and grated tomato. Once you have one you’ll crave good ones for the rest of your life. This of course is the thriftiest recipe, perfect for using up stale bread and flawed tomatoes, learn it, your life will be happier.

Blender Gazpacho
Spanish Gazpacho soup is very good on a hot day—and if you just throw everything you’re using in a blender it’s ultra-easy. I like to serve it in mugs sometimes, it’s like a smoothie, but savory.  Trade it in for your breakfast smoothie, if you don’t have a sweet tooth. You will feel super energy of tomatoes!

Melissa Clark’s Tomato Water with Seared Blackfish, Olives, and Herbs
Tomato water is what you get when you take super-ripe tomatoes and smoosh them, and let them drain into something to catch the water.  Tomato water was HUGE in the 1990’s, and I still like it. You can use it to make a really elegant bloody Mary, or serve with fish, walleye would be good in place of blackfish I think. 

Rick Tramonto’s Panzanella
An Italian Panzanella salad is a way of using up bread and tomatoes again – sense a theme? But this one from the Chicago chef of Tru is especially good, it’s got fancy touches like capers and fennel and they really make it. This is a most excellent first course for a dinner party, this and a simple cold grilled lamb or hot grilled chicken—fantastic. 

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