Late summer is when juicy, ripe tomatoes really shine, and their bright acidity and sweetness makes them an ideal pairing for just about any cheese. As we wind down the last few weeks of the season, don’t miss your chance to enjoy these gems—colorful heirlooms, fleshy slicers, candylike Sungolds, and even paste tomatoes—with great American cheeses. Here are some of our favorite ways to combine summertime tomatoes and cheese.
Nettle Meadow Farm's Triple Cream Kunik with garden heirloom on a toasted baguette.
While just about any cheese will sing alongside a peak-season tomato, fresh cheeses—with their creamy texture, uncomplicated flavors, and lactic sweetness—might be the best canvas to show off your Cherokee Purples and Green Zebras. Fresh chevre or fromage blanc, tender mozzarella, and even luscious mascarpone pair perfectly with summer’s bounty.
You just need a slab of toast to serve them on, and maybe a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of flaky sea salt, handful of fresh herbs, or sprinkle of everything spice to finish the dish. And as a bonus, fresh cheeses pair wonderfully with wine, too.
Check out our recipe for a BLT with pimento cheese and pickled jalapenos.
There comes a time each summer when grilled cheese and tomato is all I want to eat—and the only thing I have the energy to cook. Pick a luscious melter, slice up a juicy heirloom, and put them between two slices of bread. What could be easier?
Make one with fresh mozzarella and a dollop of pesto, or try a funky washed rind like Redhead Creamery’s raclette-style St. Anthony with some whole-grain mustard on the inside of the bread. Keep it classic with Redhead’s Lucky Linda clothbound cheddar—or use whatever tasty wedge you have stashed in your Grotto. Fast, delicious, and only a few minutes in front of the stove.
Our recipe for Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho with Creme Fraiche
Can’t bear to heat up the kitchen even for melted cheese? No worries—there’s a great tomato and cultured dairy dish for that. Our Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho recipe is finished with a swirl of rich, tangy creme fraiche, but there’s no reason you can’t serve hunks of fresh baguette and Jig, a tiny bloomy button from Lakin’s Gorges in Maine, or Chicory, a dreamy double-cream blue made by Indiana’s Tulip Tree Creamery, on the side, too.
I live for a Greek salad—crisp romaine, quenching cucumber, juicy tomatoes, zippy red onions and big hunks of feta dressed in oil and vinegar with a side of pita bread. But the sad, out-of-season tomatoes typically served on them in diners and delis get pushed to the side of my plate.
This is your chance to make this classic salad with glorious in-season tomatoes—whatever kind you have on hand—and cubes of rich, briny feta. Cheese has a place in other summer salads, too: You can even add vegetarian protein to classic panzanella with the addition of miniature balls of fresh mozz or seared cubes of halloumi or paneer.
Caprese salad—layers of tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella drizzled in grassy olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt—is another no-brainer. You can mix things up by adding summer’s best stone fruit into the mix with our Mozzarella, Roasted Peach, and Tomato Salad recipe. Wanna make your own mozz? Sign up for our next virtual mozzarella making class here, pick up a kit to use on your own, or schedule a private group class for you and your friends.
Whether you’re using them fresh or cooked into a rich, savory sauce spiked with basil and oregano, tomatoes on pizza are a no-brainer. Follow our Perfect Cast-Iron Pizza recipe for a simple, crunchy-crusted homemade pie that you can top with whatever tomatoes and cheese you have on hand.
Add fresh tomato slices (or cherry tomatoes) and mozzarella, margherita style, then finish with basil leaves once it’s out of the oven. Use your homemade tomato sauce as a base and add shredded mozz and pepperoni for a classic pan pie. Or drizzle the crust with a little olive oil and top with sliced shallots, dollops of tomato jam, and chunks of Boxcarr’s Lissome, a beer-washed Taleggio style, for a meatless spin on flammekueche.
Freshly dug new potatoes are another of summer’s great joys. Use your garden harvest or pick some up from your local farmstand to make this hearty, savory Warm Potato Tarte Tatin, studded with fresh chevre and the season’s late flush of cherry tomatoes.
What are your favorite ways to combine cheese and tomatoes in your summertime cooking? Let us know!