Your market tote is overflowing with tomatoes (we get it, they look so good!). What to do with all those ripe beauties? Chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s in Portland, OR, is here to help.
“I seriously eat tomatoes every single day when they’re in season: buy, eat, buy eat,” McFadden says.
At Ava Gene’s (a BA Hot 10 winner), McFadden makes the most of his tomato haul. Here, he shares three tips for cooking ‘em at home:
Salt Early and Often
“Salt is really all you need to make a tomato taste good,” McFadden says. It emphasizes flavor and draws out moisture. In his pasta recipe, for example, tomatoes are seasoned beforehand to help extract the liquid that will coat the spaghetti. The flatbread topping owes its juicy goodness to an early salt shower too. But you’ll still need to season everything on the back end. “There’s something so good about those last-minute flakes of salt that burst in your mouth when you bite down,” he says.
You’ve heard of fried green tomatoes, but grilled green tomatoes? McFadden throws the sturdy unripe tomatoes on the grill—and we’re converts. “Grilling concentrates flavor and adds depth,” he says.
Rethink the Acid
“As a rule, tomatoes don’t need extra acidity,” he says. Because they’re naturally acidic, they often hold their own without vinegar or citrus. But consider the other players in the dish. If there’s cheese, which adds fattiness, you might want the cut of extra acid. Same goes when there’s corn or other sweet ingredients. Taste and brighten as you go.