I know earlier this summer I was writing about how my vegetable garden was a sea of green tomatoes that just wouldn’t seem to ripen, but by the second week of August, I was collecting large colanders full of them every couple of days.

I planted about a dozen varieties in a 24-square-foot garden. They’re almost all cherry tomatoes, but two varieties turned out to be cutting tomatoes. Those are nice to have around for sandwiches, but I like having a plethora of small tomatoes that my kids can eat with dinner, so we don’t have to fight about some other vegetable, or that they can just pick themselves and snack on when they start running out of energy outside.


But when I’m gathering them by the gallons, I need to have some more ideas for how to use them. Which is how I came across this pasta recipe. I know a lot of people think of pasta as a heavy food that is more suited for the fall and winter, but I think it’s great for summer too because it’s can be so easy to make, and it doesn’t require a lot of thinking. This recipe combines some summer bountifuls, like zucchini, basil, cherry tomatoes and corn. The bacon gives it some nice richness, and the Parmesan fills it up. It was delicious, and everything I wanted in a summer meal.

Another way to use your cherry tomatoes is to sauté them with shallots, garlic, basil and lemon, and then serve them over baked salmon. The balsamic vinegar deepens the tomato flavor, but you could leave it out and just use more lemon if you want a lighter flavor.

And finally, I thought I would include a salsa recipe because that is another easy way to use up extra tomatoes. I chose this recipe because I agree that roasting the tomatoes first intensifies their flavor because it helps some of the water in them evaporate away. After the tomatoes are done roasting, you add garlic, habanero pepper, lime juice, onion, cilantro, allspice, cloves and ginger — ingredients that are essential to jerk flavor. I figured that’s a variety you don’t usually see in the store, and if you’re going to make a homemade salsa, you want people to experience something they can’t just buy for $3 at the grocery store.


Summer pasta with blistered cherry tomatoes

1 pound pasta shells

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1/4 cup chopped basil, plus extra for garnish

3 garlic cloves, divided

4 slices bacon

1 large zucchini, cut into half coins

3/4 cup parmesan

3 ears corn (or one can drained)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil or enough to coat, 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (or 1 tablespoon dried herbs), 1 clove minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil and cook pasta as directed on the packaging. Reserve about ¼ cup liquid.

Cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve fat in pan. In the fat, cook the garlic for a minute, then add zucchini half coins in one layer. Let cook for a couple minutes to brown one side. Then add corn and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat. If there is not enough fat leftover from cooking the meat, add some olive oil. Add about ⅛ cup cooking liquid and mix.

Chop bacon into bite -sized pieces. Sprinkle over veggie mix. Add veggie and bacon mix to pasta along with ½ cup parmesan and roasted tomatoes. Top with extra basil and remaining parmesan.

Baked salmon with balsamic cherry tomatoes

1 2-3 pound salmon fillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes scored

1 tablespoon quality balsamic vinegar

1 shallot chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pat salmon dry and rub 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides to coat evenly, and place on foil lined baking sheet skin-side down, cooking for approximately 15 minutes.

While salmon is cooking, heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add shallot and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add cherry tomatoes and cook down until collapsed and wrinkled, about 5 minutes. Take off heat and drizzle with balsamic.

Cut salmon into quarters and serve covered in balsamic tomatoes. Top with sprinkle of lemon zest and basil.

Jamaican jerk salsa

8 Roma tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

4 garlic cloves, grated or minced

1 habanero, stemmed and chopped (see note)

1 lime, juiced

3/4 cup chopped yellow or red onion

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the tomato halves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for an hour. Let the tomatoes cool for a few minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes with dark brown sugar until they reach your desired consistency.

Move the tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, habanero, lime juice, onion, cilantro and spices. Taste and add salt to your liking. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with tortilla chips or use as a condiment.