If you’re not yet planning all the ways in which you’ll eat some tomatoes for dinner tonight to consume their juicy, flavourful goodness, you better pick up the pace. There’s plenty you can do with a fresh, ripe tomato and we can show you a whole new world of tomato-ey goodness.
I have a very specific — and very special — way I eat tomatoes when they’re in season. My mum-in-law introduced it to me when my husband and I moved across the country, back to his hometown in Pennsylvania. We lived with his parents for a few months while we house-hunted and one afternoon, my MIL raised her right hand up to the heavens and said, “Wait! I know what we need for lunch.”
Toasted mozzarella-tomato-basil sandwich
This instant classic only takes a few minutes to prep and it tastes like self care. First, toast a piece (or 4) of bread (this prevents sogginess later).
Next, layer a slice of mozzarella cheese, a thin slice or two of tomato, chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper.
Place it on a cookie sheet and pop it under the grill for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt, and note how your life improves.
I shared this brilliance with the rest of the Lifehacker staff recently, and they came back at me with their own favourite tomato-eating methods.
Tomato and mayo sandwich
I knew food editor Claire Lower would have an interesting twist on how to enjoy a tomato, and she didn’t disappoint. She indulges in a tomato sandwich that sounds like something my grandma would have made me as a kid. (I mean that as a compliment, Claire. This woman used to make me a snack plate of saltines and mayo, and I loved her for it.)
Anyway, I’ll let Claire tell you about her sandwich:
Growing up, we always had sliced tomatoes as a side — just slices, on the plate, with table salt — and I still do that with extremely peak-of-season tomatoes, but my absolute favourite way to consume a tomato is on a sandwich.
The bread should be cheap, white, and squishy (it should stick to the roof of your mouth), and you should spread mayo on both slices. The mayo is the only thing I change up. Right now I’m very into this Korean mayo that came in a bag. (I would tell you the name, but it was printed on the bag, which I threw away to get to the bottle inside.) The mayo adds flavour, but it also prevents the sandwich from sogging out immediately.
Slice the tomato — preferably the moment you get home from the market — place the slices on the mayo-coated bread, and season with Maldon salt. Do not add cheese. Do not add basil. I guess you can add pepper, but I never do.
Managing editor Virginia Smith basically does this, too, but she toasts the bread and substitutes veganaise or cheese for the mayo.
I got hungry in the middle of writing this, so I decided to try a combination of the two ideas. I used very lightly toasted bread, mayo, a slice of mozzarella, tomato and salt. Can confirm this is excellent, and I don’t think it needed the cheese.
Simple caprese, cuz duh
We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but in case we do, you cannot go wrong with a simple caprese salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. (You could also drizzle a little balsamic, if you’re into that.)
This is how editor-in-chief Melissa Kirsch prefers it. She says she specifically waits until August (it’s time, Melissa!), and then she will “spend every last dime I have on heirlooms at the greenmarket” before assembling her perfect caprese.
Stop messing around and just eat ‘em
Some Lifehacker staff members don’t have time for sandwiches and caprese platters. They’re like, “I just eat them.” One such staffer — creative producer Heather Hass — eats a big ol’ tomato by simply biting into it like an apple. “Maybe add salt if you have some on hand,” she says.
Senior video producer Joel Kahn takes a similar approach: “I get a pack of grape or cherry tomatoes (or a jewel box if I’m feeling fancy) and just eat them like candy.”
(Joel came back 30 minutes later to give me an important update: “I just remembered I packed a punnet of grape tomatoes and ate the whole thing.” I live to inspire.)
Why are you still here? Time is of the essence. Go eat tomatoes.
This article has been updated since its original publication.