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Jersey tomato recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Juicy, sweet jersey tomatoes

As a Jersey girl born and bred, one of the best things about Jersey and one thing I look forward to every summer is fresh, sweet Jersey tomatoes. There is nothing like eating a plump, red tomato grown in the Garden State in an uncompromised and fresh way - no need to cook these delicious red jewels.

Juicy, sweet jersey tomatoes

Three common varieties of Jersey tomatoes

There are three common varieties of Jersey tomatoes: Ramapo, Moreton and Rutgers. All three are extremely flavorful, far surpassing the typical bland taste of ethylene-gassed supermarket tomatoes.

Recently, the Ramapo tomato has again made an appearance in the commercial world and is now once again available for purchase, both in seed form and whole fruit form. Moreton tomatoes are not as widely available but can be found in New Jersey cooperatives and in seed form. The Rutgers variety, unfortunately, is not available commercially, but is the most common type for home gardeners.

Jersey tomato seeds are available throughout New Jersey garden stores and seed catalogs. These special tomatoes grow extremely well in New Jersey soil and weather conditions, but can also fare well in other parts of the country with the right gardening techniques.

Jersey tomatoes are excellent eaten raw

Because Jersey tomatoes are bursting with pronounced tomato flavor, they are best eaten raw, fresh, and uncompromised. Italian style insalata caprese (recipe below) is a perfect example – just fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and delicious extra virgin olive oil. Simply taking a bite out of a Jersey tomato sprinkled with a little salt is bliss.

One of my favorite ways to eat a Jersey tomato is thickly sliced on a crusty Italian roll with just a dollop of mayonnaise. A tomato salad with onions or a tomato and cucumber salad is also a great way to enjoy these summer delicacies.

Jersey tomato recipes

Insalata Caprese

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds Jersey tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Layer tomatoes, cheese and basil on a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Chill until ready to serve.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 pound Jersey tomatoes, quartered
1 pound cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 onion, quartered and separated
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine tomatoes with cucumbers and onions in a serving bowl.

2. Sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper. Toss with vinegar and olive oil before serving.

Grilled Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

Extra virgin olive oil
4 Jersey tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Preheat grill over low heat and oil grate.

2. Rub tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place tomatoes, cut side down on grill. Grill for about 2 minutes per side. You want them to be just warmed through with light grill marks.

4. Remove tomatoes from grill and arrange on a plate. Top with basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

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