Late Summer is Tomato Time


Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata


People are talking about fall. But it is not fall in Los Angeles. Not by a long shot. I know this because in gardens up and down my street, tomato plants continue to produce a riot of unmatched end-of-summer color.


Tomatoes


With a glorious profusion of red, yellow, and white currant tomatoes, as tiny as your pinkie fingernail, to the slightly larger grape tomatoes, right up to two pound beauties like Gold Medal and Mortgage Lifters of all stripe, the plants continue to produce with remarkable abandon. But the question persists. What to do with all these tomatoes?


Tomatoes


You can follow the lead of Italians everywhere, who at this time of year are “putting up” enough passata di pomodoro (tomato puree), pomodori pelati (peeled tomatoes), or ready to use tomato sauce (family recipe, of course) to last until summer comes again. Check out my Italian friends Frank Fariello of Memorie di Angelina and Michelle Capobianco of Majella Home Cooking for their lessons on putting up tomatoes. But the truth is you’re still going to have tomatoes left over. A few weeks ago I wrote an article for L’Italo-Americano newspaper called “The Tomatoes of August – Put Them Up or Put Them in the Oven!” I thought I’d reprise the recipes here, for those last holdouts of the summer orto (garden.)

Late summer is tomato time, and one of the best ways to enjoy the tomato garden’s bounty is to roast these beauties. Tossed with olive oil, dappled with salt, pepper and herbs or even sweetened with sugar, and roasted in a fast oven, the tomatoes are transformed. The oven’s dry heat brings out the best in tomatoes, drawing out the water, caramelizing them and bringing their sweetness into particularly tight focus, distilling more flavor than you ever thought possible into every single glorious orb of summer.

Serve roasted tomatoes any way you want. Click here to see them paired with Abruzzo’s classic long pasta, maccheroni alla chitarra. Add a few to a salad, or atop ricotta crostini for an antipasto. Try Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata. The freshly pulled, milky cheese, or pasta filata, is formed into pouches and filled with voluptuous cream and soft pieces of cheese known as ritagli, or rags. The soft cheese is the perfect match for the flavor of the tomatoes, soft and still warm from the oven. Served with garlic-rubbed crostini and basil leaves, this will have your guests asking how you worked the magic.


Sun Gold Tomatoes


Perhaps the sweetest tomatoes of all, and surely one of the most prolific of plants, are Sun Golds. The plants reach a height of over six feet, and give forth tiny, extremely sweet, golden cherry-type tomatoes. Food writer Julia della Croce of Forktales roasts Sun Golds with extra virgin olive oil and oregano and then tosses them with pasta, more extra virgin olive oil, and ricotta salata. The Sun Golds blister and soften during their roasting time, and their flavor deepens and intensifies. This preparation, so elegant in its simplicity, is Italian home cooking alla della Croce at its best, and a perfect way to use those garden holdouts.


Toasted Tomatoes with Burrata

Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata


serves 2

About 1 pound of tomatoes
8 ounces Burrata
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves
Italian bread, cut in ½-inch thick slices
Garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise, optional
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and dry the tomatoes, leaving them on the vine, if possible. Place the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and coat with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on the middle rack until the skin wrinkles and the tomatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.

While the tomatoes roast, make the crostini. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Toast both sides of the sliced bread until golden and well marked. Remove the bread and rub the cut side of the garlic over one side of the toasted bread. Drizzle the garlic coated side of the bread with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside, oil side up.

Arrange the roasted tomatoes, burrata, crostini (oiled side up), and basil leaves on a plate. Serve.


On to dessert. Yes, I said dessert. Lose the savory flavorings, and roast the tomatoes with a delicate olive oil and plenty of granulated sugar. The tomatoes emerge from the oven almost candied, delightfully rich, a tasty match for vanilla gelato. With small pieces of mint or tiny sprigs of basil, this is a real change of pace for dessert.


Roasted Tomatoes with Vanilla Gelato

Roasted Tomatoes with Vanilla Gelato


serves 4

Vanilla Gelato (recipe follows)
1 cup mixed small tomatoes, rinsed and dried
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mint or basil leaves

Vanilla Gelato
makes 1 scant quart

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste)
4 large egg yolks
Pinch sea salt

Make the gelato: heat milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a medium saucepan until small bubbles form around the edges, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until lightened. Reheat the milk mixture until small bubbles form again. Slowly pour half the hot milk mixture into the yolks, beating constantly. Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan until the mixture reaches 180 degrees F. or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding the vanilla bean. Cool over an ice bath, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker or gelato machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Freeze 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the tomatoes with sugar and oil on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast on middle rack for about 15 minutes, until softened.

Arrange the tomatoes in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Place a scoop of gelato atop the tomatoes and sprinkle with mint or basil leaves. Serve at once.


Note: You can click on any picture and see a slide show!

I have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.

86 Comments

  1. Comment by lynne @ cookandbemerry:

    I love this combination of ingredients, and your photos truly do them justice.

  2. Comment by Phyllis@Oracibo:

    Roasted tomatoes…it’s tomato love taken to new heights! Sadly, we just “put to bed” our Sungold tomatoes…going to miss those little cherry bombs! Thinking if I could get really fresh burrata, I might like it more than what we get over here! Interesting idea with the gelato!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Phyllis,

      What a pity that your Sungolds are finished. There’s always next year to look forward to! I definitely think that the key to good burrata is freshness. Perhaps with time, you will be able to get the ultra-fresh stuff. That’s when it is at its best. Buon appetito!

  3. Comment by Emilie@TheCleverCarrot:

    I love allowing the season itself to dictate what we should eat (not the magazines and shops!). Fall always comes too early. You must have a glorious abundance of produce out in CA, and it’s still going strong here on the East Coast as well. Tomorrow I pick up more tomatoes from my farm share and your recipe looks like the perfect way to utilize them. Gotta love those Sun Golds! PS- out of nowhere, 3 tomato plants have blossomed in our backyard. We didn’t plant them, perhaps a gift from the birds?

  4. Comment by Choc Chip Uru:

    Tomato is actually one of the best ingredients! Loving your dedication post 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Comment by Mette:

    Wow – those candied tomatoes and ice cream sound delicious. Why haven’t I thought of that before?

  6. Comment by Jamie:

    Gorgeous and it reminds me how long it has been since I have roasted tomatoes – I love using roasted cherry tomatoes in quiche! But now I crave your gorgeous, perfect salad.

  7. Comment by Bam's Kitchen:

    Roasted tomatoes and gelato is not something I have ever tried but now that you write the recipe, i can so see how that is a beautiful marriage. I wish we could have fresh vine ripe tomatoes in HK but that is not possible. I can enjoy through your photos though… Take Care, BAM

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Bam,

      The tomatoes and gelato combo is pretty different, but they really go beautifully together. The tomatoes have to be real sweet so that when roasted they become super sweet. We just love this combination. I’m sorry you don’t get vine ripe tomatoes. There really just is nothing like them. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Comment by Tania @My Kitchen Stories:

    You are so perfectly right there is nothing better than roasting tomatoes at there peak and then you chose Burrata, so summer so delicious

  9. Comment by Chiara:

    thanks for this lovely post Adri, a perfect pairing ! I love burrata…Have a great week my dear, un abbraccio !

  10. Comment by Karen (Back Road Journal):

    Even thought it isn’t officially fall, it feels like it here in New England. Our high yesterday was 56. Thankfully we haven’t had frosts yet in our part of New Hampshire although warnings have been posted for most of our state for tonight. My tomatoes are still going strong but not for much longer. I’ve never thought of using them in a dessert…most give that a try.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Karen,

      It was 104 degrees F. here yesterday! Can you dig it. I’m glad you still have tomatoes, and I hope these last ones are great. Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to your fall posts. You are in the best part of our country for fall, senza dubito.

  11. Comment by ATasteOfMadness:

    My boyfriend hates tomatoes, so I rarely have them in the house. Although now that I think about it, I should really get some to treat myself..

    • Comment by Adri:

      Benvenuta!

      He hates tomatoes! Oh my, but I wish there were some way to remedy that. Until that day comes, I say treat yourself and bring some home. There is nothing like a perfectly ripe tomato. Thank you so much for visiting my site. I hope you return often.

  12. Comment by Hannah:

    Tomato time is the best time of year! Your photos are absolutely, positively glorious. So beautiful… and I adore the idea of serving up the ruby gems with vanilla ice cream! Love that sweet and savory twist. 🙂

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Hannah,

      No kidding about tomato time. And it is always gone too soon for my taste. Thank you for the kind words. Much of the photo credit goes to my husband. We have quite a collaborative effort going on here, and often it is he who takes the pix. And even if I do the photography, the editing credit all goes to Bart. I will certainly pass on the compliment. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. Comment by Cakelaw:

    Those are beautiful looking tomatoes, and tomatoes and cheese is such a winning combination.

  14. Comment by Jean | DelightfulRepast.com:

    Adri, love looking at your tomato photos! So glad I planted tomatoes this year — I’ve been putting them in everything. Love these ideas!

  15. Comment by Paola Lovisetti Scamihorm:

    Hi Adri, what a nice post on the variety of tomatoes and burrata. I love burrata. There is a Apulian shop in Como where you can order burrata, it comes fresh directly from Apulia…what a delicacy! Paola

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Paola,

      Burrata, over the last couple of years, has become very popular here in Los Angeles. We even have a couple of artisanal cheesemakers who do a fine job with it. Our finest cheese shops get it overnight from Italy, but at quite a premium! Thanks for stopping by. Un bacione a te!

  16. Comment by marcela:

    I love this recipe! I’m totally crazy about tomatoes!

  17. Comment by Kitchen Belleicious:

    tomatoes with gelato! Now that is something totally new to me but something I could totally see myself loving. The creamy sweetness of the gelato marries perfectly with the tang and juiciness of the tomatoes. love this

  18. Comment by cheri:

    Hi Adri, love both tomato dishes especially the tomato and gelato. I never would of the of pairing the two together I bet this is delicious. Great post!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Cheri,

      I’m glad you like these. The gelato really is a twist, but if you have real sweet tomatoes, it really is great. My husband loves it. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope all is well with you. Pretty soon it will be fall around here….

  19. Comment by 2 Sisters Recipes:

    Burrata is our all time favorite! And, your photos are so stunning Adri! But I have to tell you we have never had ice cream with roasted tomatoes before, but now you have intrigued us to no end… Bravo! Grazie!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi you two!

      Isn’t burrata just the most amazing cheese? I am so glad that it is widely available now. And give the gelato a go. It needs sweet-as-candy tomatoes to achieve full effect, but it really is a treat. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Comment by Michelle - Majella Home Cooking:

    Ciao Adri, thanks for the shout-out and for sharing your tomato love! I just got through making 1,000 jars of salsa pronta. Exhausting, back-breaking work but so worth it. I was just thinking last night how much I will miss garden and heirloom tomatoes. In less than a month, they’ll be gone and summer will have officially ended. Hope your reno is going smoothly. We’re doing some more work in our new (old) house. I’m eager to clear the boxes once and for all! A presto, Michelle

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Michelle,

      It was my pleasure to share your post. I thought it was utterly inspirational. I like hearing that you are at it again this year. Keep the tradition alive, I say. I hope your boys get involved. Best of luck with your new house. We sure put our life’s blood into our homes, don’t we? But it is worth every bit of work. Thank you for stopping by.

  21. Comment by TheKitchenLioness:

    Cara Adri, so nice to see that you are posting again- I sincerely hope that you are feeling much, much better these days! I thought a lot about you and send many a positive thought your way!
    Onto your lovely post, there is nothing that makes me happier than oven-roasted veg, especially oven-roasted tomatoes, there are indeed a very sweet temptation. Barrata is another one of my favorite food these days – so I would certainly enjoy your lovely, late summer appetizer. And the dessert – when I look at your post, I am convinced that sweet tomatoes and vanilla gelato seem to be a match made in heaven.
    A big fat hug from afar, dear friend!
    Andrea

  22. Comment by Marie:

    Adri, I could just dive into that top picture, what a beautiful sight and I know how wonderful it all tastes! Our midwest tomatoes never look as beautiful as your Southern California ones do, frankly I’m jealous. Gelato with tomatoes, who knew?

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Marie,

      I’m glad you like this one. I could not resist reprising it here. The newspaper readers enjoyed it, although the gelato and tomato pairing did generate a bit of controversy among the purists.

      We are pretty fortunate here with our tomato growing season. The San Fernando Valley, where Bart and I live, is prime agricultural territory. In fact, through much of the twentieth century ‘the valley” was blanketed with orchards of all sorts – walnut, avocado, citrus. You name it, they grew it. The orchards gave way to urban sprawl beginning in the sixties, and now very few remain. But we’ve still got the weather! Thanks for stopping by, amica. Un bacione forte a te!

  23. Comment by Chronica Domus:

    So happy you left a comment on my blog today, which is how I found yours. I see we have a shared love of tomatoes, and we are working our way through pounds of them in salads and pasta meals. I planted tomatoes last year that did very well, but ripened very late in the year (I live in San Francisco). I was delighted to have discovered several volunteer seeds that had self-sown in my vegetable garden so I thinned them out in the spring and watered them. We are enjoying their bounty as I type. Deish! You’ve given me food for thought with your idea of tomatoes being served as dessert. This, I shall have to try. Thank you!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Benvenuto!

      It was an absolute pleasure to find your site. We are remodeling our home, and I find I am enjoying reading the commentaries of others as they work on theirs. May I add that you have an intriguing list of other sites to visit.

      This is not the first I have heard of this year’s tomatoes ripening later than usual. In fact a friend who lives in Oakland also said her tomatoes came in far later than usual. It was, I guess, one of those years. I am so pleased to read that you enjoyed what you saw here. Thank you so much for stopping by. And I look forward to reading about your garage doors.

  24. Comment by Abbe@This is How I Cook:

    Love this post on all the varieties of tomatoes. So funny because I just had tomatoes and burrata for lunch with a touch of truffle oil on top. And it is pouring cold rain here which is the sign that Fall is right around the corner. I am so not ready!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Abbe,

      How about a little coincidence for lunch? But how very nice to have the luxury of truffle oil. That certainly elevates “tomatoes and cheese.”

      With your rain it sounds like you are just about in the throes of Fall. Can you believe that we still have triple digit temperatures here in Los Angeles? Will Summer never end? I am so pleased that you stopped by, and I hope that you enjoy your cooler weather. Alla prossima!

  25. Comment by Bill:

    Fresh tomatoes are one of the joys of summer and I can really OD on them! I so appreciate this post and your beautiful photos. Of course, the Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata would send me over the moon! Awesome post!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Bill,

      You are so right about tomatoes being one of the joys of summer. Warm from the sun, there is nothing like a perfectly ripe tomato. I am so glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for the kind words, and thank for stopping by.

  26. Comment by lindaraxa:

    Yes, my one and only tomato plant on the deck is going gangbusters still. Wonder if it will ever stop. According to the Farmers Almanac i’s supposed to be a touch winter. Worse than last year’s. Brace yourself!. Thanks for all the ideas. Like Frank I adore roasted tomatoes on pasta.

    By the way, your anti spam protection is fabulous. Better than ours here on blogger. Google…hello???

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Linda,

      These tomato plants will not give up the ghost, but I am not complaining. I am ready and willing to make use of what ever they give forth. Thank you for stopping by, and it was a pleasure to visit your site. I am glad to her about the anti-spam protection. I will pass that on to my webmaster. Alla prossima!

  27. Comment by sippitysup:

    I know what you mean about September tomatoes. I didn’t grow any this year and (of course) come September I’m missing all those sun golds. Here’s a jam I typically make when I do plant a vine or two. GREG
    http://www.sippitysup.com/tomatomania-sicilian-style-tomato-jam-spicy-sweet-and-savory/

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Greg,

      Great minds think alike – I make a very similar jam, typically with another of my favorite tomatoes, Juliets. Those sweet and and savory jams are the perfect farewell to summer. I bet you missed having some tomatoes this year. I planted a few in our rental backyard, and it was nowhere near enough. Alla prossima!

  28. Comment by Beth:

    Gorgeous photos. I often envy people who live in areas with longer growing seasons than we have in Toronto. Lucky you!

  29. Comment by Laney (Ortensia Blu):

    My oh my oh my! And with vanilla gelato sounds most interesting…but with burrata is also soooo wonderful (and your photo is gorgeous)! Roasted tomatoes with toasted breadcrumbs over pasta is an almost weekly dinner in my house.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Laney,

      I’m glad you liked this one. We enjoy roasted tomatoes, and I like hearing that you do too – funny how something so simple can be so good. Thanks for stopping by. Un bacione a te!

  30. Comment by Susan:

    I wish tomato season could go on forever! Here, it will be maybe another two weeks, possibly three before I pick the last of my homegrown tomatoes.

    All of the links you shared are wonderful and the roasted tomatoes with burrata sounds absolutely divine!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Susan,,

      I’m with you – if only tomato season could go on forever. For us too it will be just a few more weeks. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed the links. I certainly enjoy sharing other sites. Thank you for stopping by!

  31. Comment by Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti:

    Your burrata and roasted tomato salad looks divine! I miss not being able to plant tomatoes! I did not have a backyard that allowed planting in NYC but I had patio flower pots where I was able to grow an incredible array of tomatoes. Here, the plants would be eaten within days by the deer. The climate is also too cool here at night to support a good tomatoes growth. I’d need a greenhouse of some sort and then would have to worry about the frequent hail storms we get destroying the green house. As you can see it is a losing battle so I must buy all my tomatoes. My husband and I used to make our our sauce from plum tomatoes we bought at the farmer’s market, and I;d like to begin doing that again–there is nothing that compares to the taste of homemade sauce. I brought all my canning equipment with me when I moved cross country!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Pat,

      You have had to make many concessions in the kitchen in your new home, but you are surrounded by the most majestic landscape our country has to offer, so I hope the trade-off seems like a fair one to you. I imagine you do miss the garden fresh produce though, especially the tomatoes. Plus canning is such a rewarding pursuit, I would miss it a lot, I am certain.

      I have heard stories from other friends whose gardens have fallen victim to deer. Is there nothing those creatures will not eat? Even here in Los Angeles, people who live in the hills are plagued by the hungry creatures. I had no idea just how destructive they can be. I always think of deer as “Bambi.”! How wrong I can be! I hope you are experiencing a beautiful fall.

  32. Comment by Anthony Fama:

    Adri
    Both recipes sound delicious and the dessert is intriguing

  33. Comment by laura:

    Bentornata with a vengeance! What a great post and fantastic photos! Thanks for all the good ideas and inspiration!

  34. Comment by Rosa:

    Fantastic and refined dishes! A wonderful way of serving tomatoes. Gelato and tomatoes, wow that’s an original combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  35. Comment by David:

    What a great post, Adri! I love a an abundance of tomatoes at the end of the season (still going strong here in Tucson) – because I want enough to put up, and then plenty to use in sauces and other dishes. The tomatoes with gelato? That is a new one for me, and I will have to try it. A friend just posted from Provence a recipe for vanilla gelato with basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt – that was fantastic! So why not tomatoes? Have a great week!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi David,

      Why not indeed. In fact, I make an olive oil gelato that is infused with basil, and it would pair beautifully with roasted tomatoes. I say it is time for us all to think out of the box! Thanks for stopping by.

  36. Comment by mimi:

    I am a huge lover of fall, but you’re right. At least where I live, it is still summmer. And the best thing about summer is tomatoes (and basil.) This is a beautiful, inspiring post about tomatoes!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Mimi,

      It seems that on every blog I see writers are writing of fall. But here in Southern California it’s still summer – shorts, tee shirts, floppy hats, and BBQ’s. So here is some food to “go along with.” I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

  37. Comment by Ciaochowlinda:

    So many ways to enjoy these beauties. I love all your suggestions Adri, but was so surprised when I saw them paired with ice cream! But why not? They’re a fruit, after all, no? And I haven’t made gelato all summer. I have to work up the nerve to try them that way, but until then, I’ll be reveling in those roasted tomatoes with that luscious burrata cheese.

  38. Comment by Frank @Memorie di Angelina:

    Nothing like a roast tomato. That incredible, intense, slightly smoky flavor… I love them on pasta most of all.

    And thanks for the shout out. 🙂

  39. Comment by LA_Foodie:

    Wow… Gelato and Roasted Tomatoes… I immediately think of Tomato Cream Sauce, that I love to put on pasta…
    What a great idea!

  40. Comment by the caked crusader:

    What a lovely looking plate of food – what colours!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Welcome Caked Crusader!

      What colors indeed. It’s the wonder of the tomato garden at work – the proverbial last gasp of our northern hemisphere summer. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for taking a moment to comment. Alla prossima!

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