Tis the season of tomatoes. Botanically speaking tomatoes are fruit even though they are often referred to as vegetable. The tomato’s nutrient content is more similar to a vegetable than a fruit, as it contains fewer calories and sugars than other fruits. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and also a good source of potassium. Tomatoes are also high in carotenoids, lutein and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes it’s beautiful color but it is also fat soluble. Meaning it is best to eat tomatoes with a fat source like olive oil or avocado. This will help increase the absorption. Now that we know all the wonderful nutritional benefits let’s take a look at these treasures and all the various types.
Heirloom- I think most of us are familiar with the heirloom tomato. Very flavorful and unique looking. The heirloom tomato comes in various shapes and sizes.
Cherry- another favorite. The cherry tomato is round and bite-sized. Available in many colors including red, yellow, orange, and black.
Roma- also known as the plum tomato, Roma’s are used for canning and pasta sauces. They are popular for these processes due to their low water content and firm texture.
Yellow Pear- the tomato is one of the oldest varieties in the U.S. It dates back to the 1800s. The yellow pear tomato is bite-sized heirlooms with mild flavor.
Brandywine - commonly found at farmers markets it is a large beefsteak.
Campari- this globe shaped tomato is larger than a cherry tomato but smaller than tomatoes on the vine or cluster tomatoes. This tomato is known for it’s sweetness and pairs well with cheeses and meats.
San Marzano- this is one that I am not very familiar with. It is apparently named for the volcanic region south of Milan. The San Marzano has a long shape and meaty texture. They are best used for sauces because they are easy to peel.
One of my most favorite ways to eat tomatoes is making a roasted tomato tartine. I use any type of tomato but the roma is definitely a winner with this dish.
4 Roma Tomato
Couple Drizzles Olive oil
1/2 TSP Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch Kosher Salt
Pinch Black Pepper
1 Garlic clove
2 Slices 100% Whole Wheat Bread
1 TSBP Ricotta Cheese (per slices of bread)
1/4 TSP Dijon Mustard
Fresh Basil for topping
Fresh Chives for topping
Preheat oven to 450 f degrees.
Slice tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the tomato.
Toss the tomatoes in the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and half of the amount of minced garlic. Spread on sheet pans and roast in oven for 25 minutes.
Toast the bread. Spread with 1/2 teaspoon mustard on each slice. Then spread each piece with 1 tablespoon of ricotta.
Add 1.75 oz. roasted tomato slices and garnish with basil and chives.