The Early Girl Gets the Prize: 3 Recipes for your best tomatoes


I am a freakishly seasonal shopper. Not only do I assiduously avoid grocery store tomatoes year-round until they are in season at the farmers’ market, I won’t even buy them from the farmers for the first few weeks of the local season.

Instead I continue to enjoy the green beans, squash, and other summer goodies while I wait for the tomatoes to reach their peak of goodness. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, that’s about now.

Forget about heirlooms. They’re so 2007. Have you noticed that sometimes they just aren’t that great?

Eaters in the know are going for the Dry-Farmed Early Girls that many farmers are growing. They are deep red, juicy, never mealy and packed with concentrated tomato flavor. And dry farming saves water – especially important in water-starved California.

Here are three fabulous recipes for you to make with your area’s best tomatoes – be they heirlooms, Early Girls, or Beefsteaks.

101 Cookbooks offers up a Spiced Tomato-Potato Gratin that would be wonderful as a side dish or a light supper.

From Saveur, we’ve got a Grilled Tomato Salsa for tacos, chips, quesadillas, beans, or simply spooning over grilled meat.

And from Simply Recipes a Chickpea, Tomato, and Egg Salad that is simple enough to showcase the best tomatoes but complete enough to be an entire meal-especially on a hot day.


Photo credits: Main image by the ewan via Flickr, licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons. Other images from the recipe sites.

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.