Tomato season is at its peak right now (August and September), so what better time than now to break out these tasty, colorful beauties and whip up some healthy recipes?
Tomatoes not only taste delicious but are also packed with nutrients, such as the carotenoid lycopene, which may lower cardiovascular risk as well as the risk of some cancers. The colorful fruit is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which help even out skintone and soften wrinkles. And if that weren’t enough, eating tomatoes can even make you less vulnerable to sunburn, helping to prevent sun damage.
To help you nab the health and beauty benefits of tomatoes, we asked five top chefs in New York City to come up with good-for-you, mouth-watering recipes featuring this fresh beauty food. Prepare to drool.
1Red Snapper With Yellow Tomatoes and Garlic
by Paul Gerard, chef and owner of Exchange Alley
“I like to cook the way I eat,” says Gerard, who has a small garden behind his restaurant that’s packed with herbs and vegetables, which he works into some of his recipes. The result? Gerard’s simple, delicious dish—red snapper, tomatoes and homemade garlic chips—is full of flavor and lets each ingredient shine.
2Red Snapper With Yellow Tomatoes and Garlic
Part 1: Homemade Garlic Chips
Garlic chips are sweet and nutty when cooked just right, but let them go just a little too long, and they become burnt and acrid, notes Gerard. “Watch them closely and remove from oil just before you think they’re done,” he says.
12 garlic cloves, as large as possible, peeled
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable oil
Using a small slicer or a mandoline, slice the garlic very thin. Place garlic in small saucepan with milk to blanche it. Put on stove and bring up until milk begins to boil. Drain through sieve. Place garlic in a thin layer on a plate with a paper towel to dry. Put the garlic and vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Line a plate with two paper towels. Slowly bring the oil and garlic to fry. Then “blast” the oil by turning up the heat to a full flame. Watch very carefully, stirring with a wood spoon. Do not let burn. Cook until just crisp and light golden brown, a matter of seconds. Use a spoon to keep the slices from sticking together as they cook, and transfer them to the paper towels to drain the moment they turn color. Salt with kosher salt and leave in a thin layer to allow further crisping. Stacking them will steam them and reduce crispiness.
3Red Snapper With Yellow Tomatoes and Garlic
Part 2: Yellow Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds peeled whole yellow tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved (tomatoes should be in large chunks)
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil, stirring lightly. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. It should be “brothy.” Season with salt.
4Red Snapper With Yellow Tomatoes and Garlic
Part 3: Red Snapper
4 portions of red snapper
6 ounces yellow tomato sauce per portion
Extra virgin olive oil
Larger filets of red snapper work better so have your fishmonger cut you six 7-ounce portions (and save the extras). Put the yellow tomato sauce in a small metal baking dish and place it on the edge of your grill, slowly simmering. Season fish with salt and pepper and lightly shine with a bit of vegetable oil. Carefully wiping off any excess oil so it will not flame up the grill, place snapper on the grill skin side down. Let cook until skin has lovely grill marks, being careful to not let fish go too long and burn the skin or force flip the fish too soon and rip the skin. Gently prying the edge with a spatula, the fish will lift easily when it’s ready. Lift snapper off the grill and place flesh side down in the sauce. Fish should not be submerged. Skin should remain just above the sauce to retain some crispiness, and not let carbon from the grill discolor the sauce. Let simmer for 4 to 6 minutes or until a toothpick slides through with little resistance. Spoon tomato chunks and broth into a bowl, place fish on the chunks/broth. Top with garlic chips, chunky sea salt to taste (I use Maldon), and a generous blessing of fruity, full-bodied olive oil.
5Marinated Beet, Green Bean, Cherry Tomato & Apricot Salad
“Although the combination of all these ingredients may seem a little crazy, the flavors and textures come together really well,” notes Pierce. “Adding the sunflower seeds to the top of the salad just after they have been toasted really allows all the flavors to bloom nicely.”
6Marinated Beet, Green Bean, Cherry Tomato & Apricot Salad
Part 1: Beets
1 small bunch baby beets (tops removed & washed)
1 small shallot (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the beets in a little olive oil, place in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Roast 30 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool. Once cooled, peel the skins from the beets and slice into rounds about ¼-inch thick. In a mixing bowl, toss the beets with the shallot and sherry vinegar. Then add the herbs and olive oil, and season with salt to taste.
7Marinated Beet, Green Bean, Cherry Tomato & Apricot Salad
Part 2: Green Beans and Sunflower Seeds
10 green beans
½ cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
3 ripe apricots (cut into wedges)
Sea salt (flake is preferable)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Bring a small pot of water with a little salt to a boil. To “french” the green beans, cut them in half, length-wise from end to end. Place the green beans in the boiling water for about a minute to blanche, or until just tender. Once cooked, submerge the green beans in ice water until cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the marinated beets, green beans, cherry tomatoes and apricots. Lightly toss with olive oil and black pepper. Arrange on your favorite platter and top with flaked sea salt.
For the sunflower seeds:
Place sunflower seeds in a small sauté pan and toast on your stovetop at medium heat until the sunflower seeds become lightly browned. Sprinkle on top of the salad straight out of the pan.
8Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio with Olive Oil Poached Tuna & Aioli
“I really enjoy how all of the ingredients play off each other,” says Madson. “The acidity of the tomato, the richness of the olive oil and poached tuna aioli, the saltiness of the capers and olives, and the spiciness of the wild arugula come together in such a wonderful way.”
9Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio with Olive Oil Poached Tuna & Aioli
Part 1: Tuna
¼-pound raw tuna
Salt and pepper
3 cups olive oil
½ lemon (thinly sliced)
4 bay leaves
Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Place tuna, bay leaves and lemon in a small pot and cover with olive oil. Place on a burner at high heat until the oil comes to a simmer. Remove pot from the heat and allow it to sit. Leave tuna submerged until it cools to room temperature. Remove tuna from the oil, but reserve 2 cups of the oil. Lightly flake the tuna.
10Part 2: Aioli & Salad
2 cups of oil left over from tuna poaching
2 egg yolks
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of a ½ lemon
4 medium heirloom tomatoes (preferably varying colors)
1 tablespoon capers
¼ cup pitted green olives (preferably castelvetrano)
½ cup wild arugula
Crunchy sea salt
Grate garlic cloves on a fine zester into a small mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and whisk vigorously. Slowly begin drizzling in the olive oil while continuing to whisk. Continue adding the oil until all has been emulsified. Add lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water and season with salt. Fold in the flaked tuna.
Thinly slice heirloom tomatoes ¼-inch thick and lay out on a platter, alternating colors. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle the tuna-aioli mixture over top of the tomatoes and sprinkle with capers and olives. Top with wild arugula. Serve.
11“Batch 22” Shrimp
by Marc Forgione, Iron Chef and owner of Marc Forgione Restaurant
Like shrimp and enjoy a Bloody Mary now and then? Then you’re going to love this recipe by Iron Chef Forgione, which marries these two delicious ingredients in a healthy, easy-to-make salad.
12“Batch 22” Shrimp
7 harvested cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 sliced onion
1 whole avocado
1 1/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Thin towel or linen napkin
Plug in ActiFry. Add in desired amount of shrimp (tail optional). Pour in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Set timer for 7 minutes and turn it on. While shrimp is cooking, peel fresh cherry tomatoes with a small knife, and then cut into halves. Take ginger and grate into towel/napkin (about 1 tablespoon). Squeeze napkin to drain ginger into a small dish. Discard pulp and leftover ginger. Cut up onion, basil and avocado and mix with tomatoes. Toss in less 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and mix in ginger juice. Add in quarter cup of Batch 22 Bloody Mary Mix. Once shrimp is cooked, unplug ActiFry, toss all ingredients together and serve.
by Rachel Nichols, private chef and a cook at The Smile
“When it comes to tomatoes in August, I think it’s best to keep them as unfussy as possible,” notes Nichols. “One of my favorite things to do with a beautifully ripe tomato is inspired by time I spent working on a farm. One day, after a long morning of tossing melons and harvesting okra, the farm hands rested around a picnic table for lunch. The owner of the farm came out to the table with a few slices of bread, Hellman’s mayo and thick juicy slices of tomato. She built the toasts and served us. It was so simple and so delicious. I’ve created my own version of (what I call) the farm toasts, with crusty baguette, drizzled with olive oil, slathered with Greek yogurt spiked with garlic, topped with slices of tomato and finished with flaky sea salt, fresh pepper and basil. Seriously tasty stuff.” We agree.
1 small clove garlic
A few pinches of Maldon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 French baguette
3 heirloom tomatoes, any color, sliced
Fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife or mortar and pestle, smash the garlic clove into a paste with a pinch of Maldon sea salt. Then scrape into a small bowl. Add the Greek yogurt and stir. Season with a little more sea salt and set aside, allowing the garlic flavor to bloom. Slice the baguette lengthwise, cutting off the rounded ends. Cut each half into 4 pieces, you should end up with 8 toasts. Drizzle olive oil onto the bread, so each toast is coated evenly. Toast the bread until it is golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Spread a nice glob of Greek yogurt onto the toast and top with tomato slices. Finish with a sprinkling of Maldon, fresh pepper, torn basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve and enjoy immediately.