10 Ways to Use Up Bruised Tomatoes
Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: There is hope for your bruised tomatoes — they just need a little TLC.
So you went to the market and bought all the beefsteak tomatoes that your arms could hold because they were just so fat and so beautiful. You used a handful to make some BLTs, but now the rest of them have started to bruise, no longer firm enough for sandwich-ready slices.
In the dead of winter, we dream of having too many tomatoes — but in the summer, it can be a serious problem. Luckily, there are many ways to use summer’s red beauties even when they’ve lost their firmness and are too soft to slice into a salad.
More: Get to know your ingredients. Here’s how to crush tomatoes by hand.
First, however, you need to make sure your tomatoes are bruised, and not rotten: When they go bad, tomatoes start leaking liquid — at this point, it’s time to hurry up and put them to use. If their skins develop black spots that are obviously not dirt or blemishes, your tomatoes have begun to mold and it’s time to chuck them.
Now that you’re done inspecting, we’ve got some ideas to get your creative (tomato) juices flowing. Here are our favorite ways to salvage bruised tomatoes:
1. Tomato Sauce
Boil the tomatoes for a minute, peel them (here’s how), chop them, then let them simmer into a tomato sauce, and add whatever seasonings you like. Go with garlic, anchovies, capers, and crushed red pepper for Pasta Puttanesca, or butter and onion for Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce. Some other ideas: Make marinara sauce to top any homemade pizza or poach some eggs in a spicy, pungent tomato sauce and call it shakshuka.
More: Here’s how to use up a big batch of tomato sauce in a week’s worth of dinners.
2. Tomato Vinaigrette
Chop up bruised tomatoes, roast or sauté them over high heat, then toss them in with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, and maybe a little Dijon. Whisk it all together, and you have a vinaigrette that will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Mix it into a salad or drizzle it over a protein — like this grilled flank steak.