Top tomato finalists: 4 recipes

4 servings

Fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, the heat from crushed red pepper flakes and lime lend Thai flavor to this quick main course, which celebrates the overlap of spot prawn and tomato seasons in the Pacific Northwest.


Top Tomato finalist (and first-time contestant) JoAna Phillips of Bellingham, Wash., grows the tomatoes she uses in the dish and buys the Puget Sound seafood right off the dock, just-cooked. Spot prawns are known for their sweet taste and firm texture. “They often have roe in them, which adds flavor,” she says.

Because the prawns she uses are not easy to come by in other area, Phillips recommends using shell-on, frozen/defrosted langoustines.

Serve over jasmine rice.


3 tablespoons corn oil

1 medium white onion, cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half-moon slices

5 medium ripe tomatoes, preferably a mix of colors, cut into 3/4-inch wedges (2 1/4 pounds)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1-inch square piece palm sugar

1/3 cup water

1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

8 jumbo spot prawns cooked with shell on; leave intact including any roe that may be attached (may substitute langoustines or extra-large shrimp; see headnote)

1 large top sprig Thai basil

Lime wedges, for serving


Preheat a wok or large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat, then add the onion and stir-fry/cook just until it begins to soften. Add the zucchini and stir to coat, then add the tomatoes and garlic; cook just until the juices they give off start to bubble.

Meanwhile, dissolve the palm sugar in water in a heatproof container in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir that into the wok or skillet, along with the fish sauce (to taste), toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring until well incorporated.

Nestle the prawns into the onion-tomato mixture; cook, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes, until just warmed through, turning them as needed so they’re evenly cooked. (The tomatoes should still be intact.) Pluck the leaves and any flower tops from the sprig of basil and add them to the mix, gently working them in and turning the prawns 1 more time. Turn off the heat.

Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. Serve hot, with lime wedges.

Nutrition: Per serving: 240 calories, 13 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar

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Tomato Shortcakes

6 to 8 servings

(makes 12 to 16 small shortcakes)

Here, elements of a juicy tomato bruschetta are presented dessert-style, with a soft, cheesy biscuit standing in for a slice of toasted baguette.

Top Tomato finalist and Frederick, Md., resident Nancy Luse’s colleagues earned an assist on the recipe.

You’ll need a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.


For the tomatoes

3 large tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


For the shortcakes

2 cups sifted flour, plus more for dusting

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus 8 small leaves for garnish

2/3 cup milk

Sour cream, for garnish


For the tomatoes: Plunge them into a pot of boiling water to loosen the skins. Peel, seed and chop, transferring the tomato flesh to a mixing bowl along with the oil, garlic and basil. Stir to combine, then season lightly with salt. Let the mixture sit at room temperature while you make the shortcakes. The yield is 2 1/2 cups.

For the shortcakes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use an ungreased baking sheet, or line the sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar in a separate mixing bowl. Add the butter; use your clean fingers or a pastry cutter to quickly work it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and basil, then pour in the milk; stir with a fork to form a wet dough.

Lightly flour a work surface. Transfer the dough there; knead gently, then pat or roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut out 12 to 16 rounds of dough, rerolling scraps as needed; place them on the baking sheet, spaced at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Let the shortcakes cool slightly, then cut them in half horizontally. Place two bottom halves on each plate. Spoon some of the tomato mixture on top of each one. Top with the shortcake tops, then spoon more of the tomato mixture on top. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a small basil leaf.

Serve warm.

Nutrition: Per serving (based on 8): 330 calories, 7 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

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Mike’s Garlic Mint Tomatoes

2 to 4 servings

Sounds a bit odd, but the combination is quite refreshing, and certainly simple.

Top Tomato finalist Maggie Stemann Thompson of Afton, Va., apologized in the middle of her submitted recipe directions for refrigerating the tomato mixture — “a sacrilege, I know!” she wrote — but says the step is necessary so the garlic, mint and tomato flavors can more easily meld. The dish comes from her biochemist mother-in-law, Maria Michaela “Mike” Thompson, who learned it from her neighbor, Marion Loving. The two avid gardeners grew bushels of tomatoes, and this became a favorite way to enjoy them at large gatherings.

Serve with crusty bread.

MAKE AHEAD: The tomato mixture needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before serving.


20 to 24 mint leaves, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 pounds large, ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (see NOTE)


Combine the mint, garlic and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a pestle or the back of a wooden spoon to muddle/mash them together until the garlic has almost a pastelike consistency. Add the oil, water and vinegar, whisking to incorporate.

Add the tomatoes and toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving, for maximum flavor.

NOTE: To peel the tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato and remove the stem. Place in the boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds — no longer. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer to the ice-water bath. The skins should simply slip off.

Nutrition: Per serving: 200 calories, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar

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Tomato Popcorn

4 to 8 servings (makes 8 to 9 cups)

This is a why-didn’t-we-think-of-it kind of snack for serious tomato lovers that captures the tang of the fruit and the crunch of buttery popcorn.

DIYers will want to make their own tomato powder, as Top Tomato contestant Becky Hamill of Lewes, Del., does, by dehydrating, then pulverizing dried tomatoes; see the NOTE, below. The powder is good for enhancing tomato flavor in soups, stews and other recipes year-round. Otherwise, tomato powder is available through Amazon韩国半永久纹眉会所,.

Hamill says this is her new favorite way to use all her summer tomatoes.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup good-quality popping corn

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

2 tablespoons tomato powder (see NOTE and headnote)



Heat a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and popping corn; cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, shaking the saucepan regularly, until all the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Pour the warm, melted butter (to taste) evenly over it and toss gently to coat, then sprinkle with the tomato powder and season lightly with salt.

Serve right away.

NOTE: To make tomato powder using a dehydrator, cut Romas or garden tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange them on the racks of a dehydrator; dehydrate for 4 to 12 hours, depending on their moisture content. Check every 2 hours for doneness; the slices should be thoroughly dried and will snap when you try to bend them.

Working in batches, crumble the pieces into a dedicated (clean) spice grinder; pulverize to a powder. Transfer to an airtight container; the tomato powder can be kept in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Nutrition: Per serving (based on 8): 90 calories, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar