Know Your Tomato: How to Pick the Best Variety for Your Recipe

August 22, 2013

Summer is the season for tomatoes and we're seeing a bevy of delicious recipes and preparations that feature this good-for-you food. Selecting the right kind of tomato can take your dish from ho-hum to wow! Below are a few common types of tomatoes and examples of dishes they're best used in.

Since Roma tomatoes are mild in flavor, they're best cooked down into sauces. Cooking them helps the sugars reduce and caramelize, thus bringing out their natural sweetness.

Cherry tomatoes on the vine
This smaller variety is sweet enough to eat fresh. Try them in fresh salsas and salads.

Grape tomatoes
These red, yellow, and orange little gems are fabulous eaten fresh or roasted in the oven. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and dust with a pinch of salt (or sugar for a candied version) and slow roast in the oven. Add them to cooked grains or spread over toasted bread rubbed with garlic.

Beefsteak tomatoes
These big tomatoes are great for grilling. Cut into 1/4-inch slices, brush with olive oil and place on a hot grill. Grill on both sides until slightly charred and add to burgers or serve as a side topped with chopped fresh herbs and salt and pepper.

These beauties are our favorite! They may not always look pretty, but their taste is magnificent. We love them simply sliced (sometimes with cucumbers and onions) and lightly dressed with olive oil and a vinaigrette, or with a drizzle of truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper and you're in heaven.

Storing tip: never refrigerate tomatoes as it ruins the flavor and texture. Simply leave tomatoes on the counter but out of direct sunlight.

Try this sweet and spicy Southwestern Tomato Jam recipe.