This pizza sauce from The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking, by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand, gets an interesting lift from lemon zest.
'tomato' on Serious Eats
Loosely based on Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad, this easy make-ahead salad combines grape tomatoes (sweet and ripe any time of year) with cucumber, parsley, mint, and quinoa for a bright and refreshing make-ahead salad that's hearty enough to serve as a light meal.
This no-fuss, fail-safe oven-roasted tomato sauce is loaded with bold ingredients: salami, sherry vinegar, kalamata olives, capers and a smashed anchovy, all tied together with olive oil and a touch of white wine. Its secret ingredient? A bit of maple syrup for sweetness. Then, it's tossed with al dente spaghetti noodles and showered with Pecorino and lemon zest.
A sacred Italian-American institution, Sunday gravy is a meat-forward, all-day-simmered dish with as many recipes as there are Italian families who make it. My version incorporates flank steak braciole, Italian sausage, tender meatballs, and pork ribs along with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, all simmered together in a rich red sauce.
There are times when you can stand over the stove all day, slowly cooking that red sauce down. Then there are times when you need to put dinner on the table in under an hour. For those moments when convenience trumps patience, this is the red sauce to turn to. Simmered with plenty of garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil, this sauce can be whipped up in no time but still has that deep, rich, long-cooked flavor.
I spend a lot of time writing about complex techniques, but in truth, most of the stuff I like to cook for myself at home is pretty simple. This is one of those nice and easy summer dishes that relies only on great produce—zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes—and simple technique, but comes with a little bit of a rough twist at the end.
When I make salsa at home, it's usually super simple: fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and lime, and a spoon to eat it with. This version, from Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave's restaurants-cum-cookbook, Tacolicious, isn't much more complicated, but is much more interesting. It's the salsa that welcomes you on arrival to the Tacolicious restaurants, and will be the standard in my kitchen from now on.
A medley of fresh herbs—basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and mint—combines with arugula, grape tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, and two types of olives for a bright, intensely flavorful end-of-summer salad.
Deeply fragrant with smoky charred edges, cabbage takes on a nutty, sweet flavor when grilled over blazing hot coals, and a great texture that's simultaneously tender and crisp. Its layered structure also makes it the ideal vessel for picking up both smoke flavor from the grill and whatever sauce you choose to serve it with. In this case, we're going with a rich blue cheese dressing, tomatoes, and—if you want them—bacon bits.
This is one of my favorite salads of all time and an absolute classic: corn grilled until it's smoky and sweet, then tossed with ripe end-of-season tomatoes in a light lemon and olive oil dressing. Salty chunks of feta and a ton of fresh herbs finish it off. As simple and delicious as recipes come.
Oh, Tomato Tart, how you haunt my dreams! (Divine and wicked, from Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell's The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.) Couldn't you have been less flaky, less creamy, less juicy-tomatoey? Or couldn't you at least have been more arduous or taken longer to put together? Then I wouldn't have blinked and devoured half a sheet of buttery puff pastry awash in milky ricotta and goat cheese.
Sweet, silky, and absolutely delicious, this breading-free version of eggplant parm made in Italy is well worth trying, especially in late summer when eggplant (and tomatoes!) are at their best.
The key to this amazingly rich-yet-fresh sauce made from perfect summertime tomatoes is that it's a blend of three different sauces: homemade oven-baked tomato paste is deeply sweet and rich; a classic tomato sauce provides bulk and flavor; and finally a splash of barely-cooked tomato purée guarantees the bright, fresh, fruity taste of vine-ripened tomatoes. Served on pasta, it's so flavorful you won't even need cheese on top.
This refreshing gazpacho gets a Mexican-inspired twist from tomatillos and smoky, grill-singed vegetables (including a jalapeño!). Garnished with grilled shrimp, traditional bell pepper, and onion, it makes a light but filling summertime main.
Juicy cherry tomatoes are packed full of smoky, crunchy bacon, salty Parmesan cheese, creamy mayo, and a sprinkling of bright, fresh parsley for a simple, crowd-pleasing hors d'oeuvre.
A dynamite duo of ripe, juicy tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese joins briny kalamata olives, aromatic lemon zest, and ribbons of fresh basil, all garnished with quality olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a finishing sprinkle of fresh-cracked pepper and flaky sea salt.
This super-simple riff on Greek tyrokafteri—a salty, spicy dip of roasted peppers and feta—is packed with bold, fresh flavors. Though the traditional recipe calls for puréeing the ingredients, here they're chopped to preserve their individual textures. Together, they form a loose filling for hollowed tomatoes, which bake until tender and lip-smackingly sweet.
This savory jam is loaded with onions and tomatoes that have been cooked in bacon fat until thick and spreadable. A touch of maple syrup, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard gives it a sweet-tart edge that would be as good on a burger as it would served alongside a wedge of cheese.
This take on eggplant Parmesan uses zucchini in place of the eggplant. Rather than bake the breaded, pan-fried disks as one big layered mass in a baking dish, this version features little individual stacks of alternating layers of pepperoni, a tomato sauce, fresh basil, and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The result is something both homey and company-worthy at once.
With the farmers market filled with plump, juicy tomatoes, stacks of smooth-skinned zucchini, and aromatic fresh herbs, now is the perfect time to combine summer's best produce into one vegetable-filled pasta. Some bonus crabmeat kicks it up a decadent notch.