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.
'tomato' on Serious Eats
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.
There's a reason oozing, soft-cooked eggs are arguably overused in food styling. That glistening ovum gold is like icing dripping down a cake, and anything underneath it is transformed into something richer, tastier, and more appealing. I would have been sold on this recipe from Diana Henry's new A Change of Appetite without that lusty addition, given my fondness for lentils in vinaigrette, but that broken yolk sealed the deal.
In this recipe from her new cookbook, A Change of Appetite, Diana Henry elevates the classic caprese combo of mozzarella, tomato, and basil with the addition of nectarine. The ripe fruit adds a juicy sweetness that I never realized was missing. Dressed with just olive oil and white balsamic, every element shows at its best. So simple, so smart.
Inspired by the famous Roman amatriciana sauce, a 6-ounce juicy patty of beef is topped with a spicy tomato-onion jam, crisped bacon, and a Pecorino Romano cheese crisp.
A quick and fresh appetizer or side dish, these grilled eggplant rolls get some Greek love thanks to an herbed-packed blend of yogurt and feta. Diced fresh tomatoes and cucumbers add a little contrasting crunch to the creamy filling.
Making double use of the grill, dish of rollatini starts with eggplant slices that are until tender and browned, then sees them returned to the grill as rollatini in a covered baking dish, just long enough for the cheese to melt and the marinara sauce to heat through.