Here’s a secret that I thought I would take to my grave.

(you people with your wily ways and big puppy dog eyes really do have a knack for prying these tidbits of personal information from my {future. very, very future.} cold dead hands.  really.  you’re worse than Mr. Grey with your seductive capabilities.)

(also, parentheses inside of parentheses?  totally a doable thing.  see above.  let’s make it a trend.)


For the first 21 years of my life, I was convinced that tomatoes were really some kind of devilish incarnation.  In fruit form.

That really, though we’ve all thought for hundreds of years that Eve ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge…

…it was actually a Vine of Knowledge.  And that red sphere that she chomped down on with reckless abandon…was totally a tomato.  Had to be.  No questions asked.


So suffice it to say, whether raw, cooked, or cut up into itsy bitsy pieces and mixed with basil and garlic atop a slice of crusty Italian bread (swoon).  (

Which was vaguely problematic given that the only meal my mother ever cooked with any regularity was pasta in marinara sauce.

Oh how times have changed.


Somehow I woke up one morning in my 21st year of life and decided that maybe, just maybe, the ooey gooey seedy juice that oozes out of tomatoes when you cut into one…isn’t so bad.  That maybe the trifecta of tomato, basil, and garlic is kind of…elysian…in its own right.

I really can’t explain it with much more than a shrug of the shoulders.  Tastes change?  It happens.

My mother was eternally grateful. (Until I stopped eating meat.  Now she’s just…bereft.)

And given how delicious tomatoes are (especially heirlooms at their summer peak!)…so am I.


This savory tomato crisp is a dish that would have sent my under-21-year-old self running for cover.  I like to think, though, that by eating it en masse…I’m just making up for lost time.

I found it to be especially tasty on the first day, especially when topped with crumbled queso fresco and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, but not quite as tasty in the days to follow.  (The.Boy. was not such a fan of the leftovers that I tried to feed him, though he tried. He really did!)  If I were to make this again, I’d add some basil into the mix, as well as some balsamic and mozzarella chunks.  For good measure.

However, once tomatoes are really at their peak, I think this would make for a great summer side dish, served warm.

For the recipe, head on over to The Giving Table and so see what other Food Matters Project participants thought of it, check out The Food Matters Project website.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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79 Responses to Savory Tomato Crisp {the food matters project}

  1. I love tomatoes! And making this dish into a “crisp” is such a great idea!

  2. Foodycat says:

    That looks really good. I had a similar sort of epiphany with zucchini – refused to eat it as a child, now I can’t get enough.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve known many people with a tomato aversion. I was not one of them. I have always loved raw tomatoes, especially the gooey-seedy juice 🙂

  4. Whoa, hello best summer side dish!

    I had a similar epiphany with bell peppers and raw onions. I used to hate them, but one day I decided they are good in their own right. And since other people like them (and since they’re healthy), I should probably try to like ’em 🙂

  5. Mmm mmm I loooove tomatoes! And like you haven’t always loved them. Same with avocados. I only started to really like them last year, and boooyyyy was I missing out. Thank goodness my taste buds are growing!

  6. Funny funny post. And oddly fitting, as I just did a post with the first peaches of the season… My opinion of peaches in those heady first 21 years was that peaches were apples that had gone terribly terribly wrong.

    Youth is wasted on the young!

    And you should see my 6 tomato plants OOOOZING with dozens of almost ripening tomatoes… such plans, including this gem



  7. Barbara says:

    The tomatoes are divine right now…this is a super side dish and a great lunch dish. Keep the savory dishes with tomatoes coming!

  8. tomatoes are a way of life here, and we eat them in wvery way imaginable. but a crisp? dang! i need to make this asap!

  9. Lynn says:

    I so look forward to “home grown” tomatoes that coworkers and friends share. My most favorite thing is a tomato sandwich. Soft bread, tomatoes, salted and peppered, Dukes mayonnaise. Yum.

  10. Glad to see you got over your tomato fear, Joanne! It is just the beginning of the summer, so I hope to gorge on sinfully ripe tomatoes in August! 🙂

  11. london bakes says:

    Roasted tomatoes are probably my favourite thing to eat in the whole world, I love the idea of them with the savoury crisp topping. It sounds just perfect for summer.

  12. patsy says:

    I saw you mention this on FB and I’ve been drooling ever since just thinking about it! Looks like a perfect way to enjoy the summer tomatoes that are due anytime now!

  13. Awesome clicks, Jo! Can’t help but loving the colours…and I am sure the tomato crisp tastes even better than it looks!

  14. Marcia says:

    That’s hilarious! I hated – HATED tomatoes growing up. And we grew a lot of them. Oh, I could eat ketchup and spaghetti sauce, but that was it. My parents would make me sit at the table until I finished my side of home canned stewed tomatoes (that and cole slaw-ugh!) It was awful.

    Somewhere around the same age – though I’m sure I was a little older, probably after college – 24? 27? I started eating tomatoes. First, I just let them put them on my sandwiches for lunch. That was the first baby step. Now, man, in the summer – sliced bread with cream cheese and tomato for breakfast baby.

    And I even eat coleslaw. Just not the kind with the sickeningly-sweet dressing. Yuck.

  15. Big Dude says:

    I went back and reread to be sure I had this right – you grew up in an Italian household and didn’t like tomatoes? Wow – hard to believe – glad you finally saw the light.

  16. Casey says:

    You are fortunate. You recognized good fruit, early in life. I waited until I was 50. This does make a great side dish.

  17. Kim says:

    I have a secret too. I like tomatoes cooked in every possible way, but I do not like them raw. I want to like them raw. I’ve tried…just can’t do it. This crisp, on the other hand, looks delicious to me and I fully agree on the addition of basil and mozzarella. Delicious!

  18. I’ve been thinking about doing a savoury cobbler for ages, with tomatoes and mediterranean veg. Great minds think alike!

  19. daphne says:

    oooo.. I have a love hate rs with tomatoes but have grown to like them! This certainly appeals to me (with some meat though :p)

  20. Margarita says:

    I can’t remember exactly when I started to love tomatoes, but I know it wasn’t so long ago… Maybe 3 years ago… I’m also making up for lost time, so I buy tomatoes even when they’re not in season, freeze them in the fall and use frozen ones for special sauces in the dead of winter, when that supply is gone, I reach for the cans, you get the picture. My favorite is the heirloom and I had some baby ones at trader joes, they were great! Thanks for letting us know how leftovers taste like, I didn’t have any coz I only made less than a pound of it.

  21. Sorry The Boy didn’t like it but I think it sounds awesome. I have a feeling my husband wouldn’t care for it either and my kids would want to put it on top of spaghetti noodles. 🙂

  22. Oh, your tomato dish looks wonderful. Funny how we grow and expand our food pallets. As a kid I would of ran to from a tomato dish, but not anymore! I would love to make this, so I am off to look at the recipe.

  23. Mary says:

    I adore fresh tomatoes and I am SOOOO impatient for an abundance of fresh ones from my garden. We’ve harvested a grand total of 3, plus a couple handfuls of tiny grape ones. That is simply not enough!

  24. Danielle says:

    This looks fantastic! I am (not so) patiently waiting for our tomatoes to come in to try out all these great tomato recipes I keep finding.

  25. Jenn Kendall says:

    Seth is actually really weird about tomatoes – he will only eat them if they are in a tomato sauce and are absolutely not chunky…but i would totally love this, it sounds delicious!

  26. Camila Faria says:

    Oh, the color of these tomatoes! Gorgeous!

  27. That Girl says:

    I can’t imagine not loving tomatoes. Impossible.

  28. Deborah says:

    There is very little that is better to me than a tomato fresh from the garden. I always say that people that think they don’t like tomatoes have only had the icky grocery store ones – and it’s no wonder!! I’m glad you discovered the deliciousness of tomatoes!!

  29. Oh my goodness, Joanne, this is amazing. I can’t wait to taste it!

  30. Karen says:

    I’m marking this one for this summer when we get tomatoes in the garden. Yum!

  31. Claudia says:

    I’m also saving this for tomato season (only 6-7 more weeks – but who’s counting). This is such fun! (My daughter won’t eat tomatoes unless I roast the squishy-texture out of them – and she’s in her 20’s).

  32. Laura says:

    How incredibly delicious. I am bookmarking this to make pronto!

  33. Johanna GGG says:

    I understand very well what you say – I couldn’t quite understand raw tomato when I was young – and tomato sauce was red but surely there were no real tomatoes involved! I think I began to understand tomatoes better when I began to understand seasonal fruit and veg.

    As for your mother – surely it is easier to have a daughter who loves tomatoes than a daughter who loves meat 🙂

  34. sandra says:

    you took some gorgeous shots for this post. I love the vibrant tomatoes! They look so yummy.

  35. Catherine says:

    Dear Joane, I love tomatoes and this looks like a delicious recipe. Ciao my dear.

  36. Jenna says:

    Ooooh . . . your pictures of the tomatoes on the vine are so beautiful that I’m falling in love the with tomato all over again. Despite the more than disappointing bolognese sauce I made yesterday . . .

  37. I aslo enjoyed this dish. Like your suggestion to add basil, I added oregano and it really gave it a nice aroma and taste.

  38. A savory crisp! Why didn’t i think of that! Genius as always! Love it and love tomatoes so this is right up my alley! Sorry was MIA- been busy but all is good now!

  39. It is amazing how our tastes change over the years. The savory tomato crisp will be great when I start picking my heirloom tomatoes later in the year.

  40. tigerfish says:

    I seldom associate tomatoes with “crisp” texture but you made it so. It happens! Ha! 🙂

  41. I can live on tomatoes for my entire life..
    Never thought of making a crisp… Yum!!!

  42. I would love to dig into this right now. What a great idea! I can’t wait to try a bunch of new tomato recipes this summer.

  43. Saguna says:

    Just realized your awesome hypothesis about Eve and the tomato could totally work! Tomatoes ARE quite wanton seeming delicacies now that I think about it…

    This crisp sounds like a jazzy way to use up all the juicy ones when they’re bursting forth like crazy.

  44. Simply Life says:

    I have always loved tomatoes so I know I will love this!

  45. Pam says:

    I hated cooked tomatoes when I was young. Now I love them. Liver…now that will never change.

  46. I can only imagine how yummy this must be. Balsamic reduction…goat cheese and roasted tomatoes with a nice crusty crust. Yup, right up my alley!

  47. OohLookBel says:

    What I wouldn’t give for a juicy red tomato like that! Trade you a bunch of our winter parsnips for one?

  48. This does look more like a “better on the first day” type of dish. So I’d just have to make it in the morning and make a day of it. Yum!

  49. Natalie says:

    I absolutely love tomatoes and feel like I’ve tried them every way possible, but never in a crisp – such a neat idea!

  50. Amy says:

    Hm. A savory tomato crisp. Who would have thunk it? That creative Mark Bittman…

    I was indifferent to tomatoes growing up. Liked ’em, didn’t love them. Now I do. And Haley? She loves them like Trevor loves strawberries. She’s salivating watching the garden plants grow with bright orange fruit, just waiting for them to turn red so she can pluck them right into her mouth. That kid…she even likes the juice from fresh tomatoes. Show me another 6YO that likes that and I’ll eat dirt.

  51. Katie says:

    I’ve only had sweet crisps before, so trying out a savory one like this sounds great. Good for the boy for trying it, even if it wasn’t his favorite.

  52. Hotly Spiced says:

    It’s incredible that you were able to avoid tomatoes for 21 years. How did you do it? Tomatoes are in EVERYTHING. I use them all the time. I don’t know how you managed to avoid them. Interesting that now you love them. The heirloom ones are so delicious. Great looking tomato dish Joanne xx

  53. Carolyn Jung says:

    Glad you were finally won over by tomatoes. To me, nothing is more glorious than a home-grown summer tomato that’s still a little warm from the sun. With a little sea salt on it, it’s pure heaven.

  54. Erin says:

    I was like that with onions, couldn’t stand em… And now I love them in everything. Your crisp looks delicious! Balsamic and basil sound like a great idea to really boost the flavor 🙂

  55. you and my husband think alike but he has not waivered in his opinion LOL

  56. Totally thought you meant chips before I read this haha. Looks awesome though 😀

  57. wow, that looks outrageous! i love tomatoes! thanks for sharing!

  58. What a gorgeous way to use fresh tomatoes, Joanne. I’ve been a rabid fan of all things tomatoes for as long as I can remember. And I’m SO glad. 🙂 I shudder to think of all the things I’d have to miss out on if I hated them!!

  59. Guru Uru says:

    A tomato crisp? A savoury crisp? I canot believe I am falling in love with it too 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  60. 1) So glad you got over your aversion to tomatoes, imagine all that you could have missed in life! 2) an excuse to eat crumb topping for dinner? yes!

  61. I’ve seen many dessert-type crisps but never one that involves tomatoes! It looks amazing, especially with all that crispness on top.

  62. Pam says:

    I have always loved tomatoes but my husband only started eating them after he met me. He still doesn’t like a big slice of tomato but he does love roasted tomatoes and grape tomatoes. YUM!

    I could eat just this tomato crisp for dinner and be perfectly happy. It looks wonderful.

  63. Evi says:

    I used to not like tomatoes either, so don’t worry I think there are many of us out there! I think when anyone tastes their first farmer’s market tomato they are sold! This looks delicious, and thanks for the tip on adding mozzarella and basil, when I make mine I’ll remember to do that!

  64. Cathleen says:

    I was the same way! I thought tomatoes were the weirdest. I was always uneasy about the fact that they were classified as a fruit. If I had a salad consisting of mostly tomatoes, I don’t think I would consider it a fruit salad.
    This looks terrific though. I think I’m due to buy more tomatoes!

  65. Eileen says:

    I’m the opposite–I’ve loved tomatoes forever. (Of course, my parents also grew them in the backyard, which helped.) And that crisp looks amazing–the crumb topping is such a great contrast with soft tomatoes!

  66. Reeni says:

    My family would devour this in one sitting especially made with tomatoes from our garden! I love the idea of a savory crisp – don’t recall making one before – must fix that. ASAP.

  67. I have SOOOO many tomatoes growing in my garden right now. If only they would turn red!!! Then I could make this.

  68. elly says:

    I love love love tomatoes, and am so glad you came around. This crisp looks amazing. Now we just need to work up your mushroom love.

  69. Natalie says:

    another one to add to my growing list of things to make this summer! yay for changing tastes (i was anti olives, pickles, and guacamole for a long time. glad that fixed itself!!)

  70. Looks amazing! I’d love it as a side dish, have to try this. I’d like your addition of mozzarella and basil.

  71. What a creative idea! I love it. Perfect for all the tomatoes that will be coming in here soon.

  72. Cara says:

    I find it really hard to imagine you not liking tomatoes!

  73. grace says:

    fruit crisps are one of my favorite desserts, so kudos to you for figuring out a way to incorporate them into the main course!
    for the record, i’m totally with you on the parentheses within parentheses. 🙂

  74. Glad you came to the dark side and became a tomato lover! This crisp sounds wonderful!

  75. Shannon says:

    tastes definitely change, and i’m so glad for that!! totally making this when tomatoes come into season 🙂

  76. Chris says:

    I’ve always loved the acidic bite of tomatoes, even as a kid. But squash as a kid – hated it. Now I actually crave it some times.

  77. Kevin says:

    A tomato crisp is a great idea! I am having one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

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