Cookbook author Virginia Willis shares some of her favorite fresh-off-the-vine tomato recipes in honor of the year's juiciest season.
Recipe: BLT Salad
The garlicky, mayo-based dressing is a tangy addition to this reinvented BLT. Use the flat side of a knife to smash the garlic clove into a paste. If you want the dressing a tad thinner, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. water.
Recipe: Garden Cocktail
You can substitute bottled juice for Garden Tomato Juice to save time. But if you make it fresh, don't use an aluminum saucepan—it will react with the tomato acid. Store in the fridge up to 1 week.
Tomato-and-Okra Cornmeal Cakes
Recipe: Tomato-and-Okra Cornmeal Cakes
Choose tomatoes that are about 1½ inches in diameter. If okra isn't quite in season, you can leave it out. Also, in place of pimiento cheese, you can try soft goat cheese, sheep's milk ricotta, or whipped cream cheese.
Old Fashioned Tomato Pie
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie
This plate of goodness is always a home run. Don't skip salting the tomatoes. This step rids them of excess juice, so you'll have a nice firm pie, not a soggy mess.
Recipe: Tomato Panzanella
To layer the flavors further, substitute an unrefined corn oil, which tastes like fresh sweet corn, for some of the extra virgin olive oil. The wine seems like an unusual addition, but it will actually bring out the flavor of the tomatoes.
Mexican Tomato Soup
Recipe: Mexican Tomato Soup
Charring the tomatoes creates a wonderfully smoky, flavorful soup. Adjust the amount of red pepper to your desired level of heat.