I have enjoyed researching tomatoes to understand a little bit more about the varieties, nutritional components, and growing practices. For example, I knew a heirloom tomato was a type of tomato that has been around for a certain amount of time, usually found with fun shapes, beautiful colors, and often incredibly juicy. Also, they tend to be on the pricier side. I came across a website called Gary Ibsen’s Tomatofest that I found to be a great resource on the subject. Although there are more than one definition for heirloom classification, I particularly appreciated these two:
- Commercial heirlooms: tomatoes varieties that have been around for at least 50 years.
- Family heirlooms: tomato seeds that have been passed down for several generations.
This made a lot of sense to me while enjoying a heirloom and recognizing that the flavor and juiciness is really in a class of its own. I chose to highlight this type of tomato with a couple simple grilled veggies that are also in season with tomatoes. You may not even call this a recipe due to the simplicity of the plate. The simplicity is how I find this tomato can be enjoyed best.
There is something warm and special when you think about a tomato plant and seed that has been kept and cared for so long, almost as if it were a part of the family itself. As a beginner gardener who has not attempted to keep my own seeds yet, I can already appreciate the love and attention that can be given to a plant. I can also better understand paying that extra amount for a tomato that sells a dish.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant
- 1 medium/large Eggplant (I used Indian eggplant)
- 2-3 medium/large Zucchini
- 1-2 large Heirloom tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Basil
- 1/2 tsp Sea salt
- olive oil
- Slice the eggplant and zucchini in a way that is easy to lightly cook on the pan or grill. I put all sliced zucchini and eggplant in a bowl with about 2 TBS of olive oil and tossed until all sides were coated. Be mindful that the eggplant can really absorb the oil and you want to avoid that.
- Lightly cook the zucchini and eggplant for about 2-3 minutes each side on medium heat. I like mine very lightly browned so closer to the 2 minute mark. Also, you may want to put a lid on while you cook your eggplant to help soften the veggie (if you are using a pan and not a grill).
- After vegetables have been lightly cooked, place on platter and add sliced tomato. Sprinkle with sea salt. Chop basil and sprinkle on top of vegetables or serve on the side. Ready to enjoy!
- Now you have a beautiful platter of foods in season during the warmer months (at least in California). Take a look below at how I chose to use this recipe for several meals!
Meal # 1
No fancy meal. Just enjoyed the veggies as you see them on the platter! I drizzled a little more olive oil and it made for a delicious small bite. My attention was mainly on how to use these veggies for a few meals throughout the week. Meal prepping and planning is always on the brain! I also separated my eggplant and zucchini (sliced up) for future use and made some quinoa to compliment the veggies.
Meal # 2
I took these grilled veggies and placed them on top some lightly sautéed kale toped with my tomatoes from the garden. To make it a little more well rounded I also added some cooked kale and avocado for some protein and healthy fats. Watermelon for dessert!
This was a favorite. I placed the grilled veggies on a freshly baked whole wheat bread with some avocado and goat cheese. For this, I chose to use that amazing heirloom tomato and in my opinion, it made the sandwich!