I couldn’t resist buying a box of 10 large (230 g), gorgeous tomatoes for only 598 yen at the grocery store a few weeks ago. Tomatoes in Japan can be quite expensive, and although the price drops in the summer when they are in season, 600 yen might get you 5 if you are lucky.
How did I use my 10 tomatoes?
Cold Basil-Tomato Salad: 1 tomato
I bought some good mozzarella cheese to make Summer Pasta with Eggplant Sauce, so I sliced the tomatoes into rounds and added cheese, pesto, and fresh basil; I had the salad as my afternoon snack. Delicious!
Roasted Tomato Soup: 3 tomatoes
I made a half batch of Heidi Swanson’s “Roasted Tomato Soup.” Roasting tomatoes in that volume is a pain without a full-size oven, so I can’t entirely recommend it to my fellow expats, but if you have access to smoked paprika and a large oven, it’s a grown-up, rustic take on tomato soup.
Chili: 3 tomatoes
This chili recipe (guideline, really) from Jezebel‘s Anna North is great, but I would really recommend using a can of diced tomatoes instead, as food-processing three whole tomatoes made the consistency really runny. In retrospect, I should have made gazpacho.
Pizza: 1/2 tomato
I made a batch of my whole-wheat pizza dough and topping it with pesto, half of a yellow zucchini (organic and grown in the Noto!), diced; half of a yellow bell pepper, diced; pizza cheese; fresh basil; and half of a tomato, diced.
Stuffed Zucchini: 1/3 tomato
The other half of the tomato went into my recipe for stuffed zucchini. Shockingly, my husband, who is not a fan of zucchini or tomatoes, enjoyed this. Because you blend/food process most of the stuffing together before you bake the dish, the zucchini and tomato flavors and textures are balanced by the spinach, bread, and basil. The salt and cheese are a nice touch, too.
Sandwiches: 2/3 tomato
In the absence of turkey deli meat in Japan and out of laziness–not feeling like cooking chicken breasts for sandwich filler–avocados have become my go-to sandwich filler of choice. I made some “English Muffin Bread” from Okara Mountain and bought some great rye from a local bakery, so I split the tomato between two lunches. You could also make bagel sandwiches or pita sandwiches.
Pasta Pomodoro: 1 1/2 tomatoes
With the exception of cold pasta salads, this is perhaps the easiest pasta ever. It was a staple of my grad student days and was one of the first meals I ever cooked in Japan because it was one of the few for which I could assemble the ingredients!
- “Summer Pasta with Eggplant Sauce“
- The Ishikawa JET Kitchen has the best recipe for ratatouille I’ve ever had the pleasure to make and eat.
- “Gazpacho Somen” from Hokuriku Expat Kitchen.
- Garnish for an okara burger.
- The base of “Kabocha Curry” is tomato.
How do you like to use tomatoes?