TODAY   |  July 31, 2013

Tomatoes 101: Know your Romas from your red vines

Tomatoes are at their best right now, in the heart of summer. Chef Giada De Laurentiis gives the scoop on the various varieties and the best ways to use them.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and we're back on a wednesday morning. we're cooking with giada today. today contributor giada de laurentiis . do you know the difference between a roma or a grapevine? o a cherry?

>> do you?

>> no. giada has great tomato recipes. good to see you. what's the basic we need to know .

>> all right. this can get a little overwhelming but this is the time of year for tomatoes. depending on where you shop, farmer's market, grocery stores , this is what you'll find. these are cherry tomatoes. they're super sweet right now. i make a fresh salsa or fresh tomato sauce . roma tomatoes you can find them all year round. make a red sauce or add red wine to them. then you have grape tomatoes which are great to pop in your mouth as a snack or roast them in the oven and make a big pot of them and serve them with meats or fish. heirloom tomatoes . colorful, beautiful, they're still good. these are great for salads. i like to grill it and put on burgers.

>> is there a go to tomato that works in the most number of recipes? probably heirlooms.

>> yeah but you can't find them all year round and they're super expensive. so i would say these.

>> do you ever refrigerate them?

>> no it ruins the texture and kills the flavor. on your counter but not in direct sunlight.

>> tomato and goat cheese .

>> layers in any italian. i'm not going to make you get your hands dirty matt but you slice a tomato. it makes it easier to cut through the tomato. what you do is you add a piece of tomato and mix goat cheese with cream to soften it. spread it out like that. then you do another slice of tomato right on top and then you do a little bit more goat cheese . you get the idea.

>> right and i make herb oil to make it colorful. mint and basel together. very, very simple. very refreshing. very summertime.

>> olive oil .

>> ground salt and pepper .

>> why don't you do that.

>> love that.

>> there you go. mix it all together. you can do this ahead of time. i hate this thing.

>> that's okay. it comes out looking like that.

>> so basically, then you drizzle over the the top. and you can see that the color is beautiful. a little bit of nuts for crunch.

>> now we're going to grill tomatoes.

>> beefsteak. you want them firm. you can season them if you want to and then just grill them and then put them over the burger. you have grilled tomatoes and a little bit of arugula.

>> that's one of the greatest looking burgers.

>> you can use whatever bread you like. i like i talian bread.

>> you have tomatoes and strawberries.

>> if you buy a ton of tomatoes use any tomato you want.

>> come in. don't be afraid. hello ladies and gentleman.

>> thank you.

>> we have a ton left over so i cook them and make a jam. tomato and strawberry jam . add a little sugar, a little cinnamon, a little salt and let me juice. cook it down for 45 minutes. it becomes a jam just like this and you can serve it over ice cream , over yogurt for breakfast in the morning. could you put it on toast or is that crazy.

>> oh, darling.

>> i didn't even plan that.

>> you can put it on a weighbagel.

>> and eat it like that.

>> it looks great.

>> it tastes great.

>> i like that also tomato and watermelons.

>> this is your favorite.

>> the burger. how do you beat the burger? much more ahead. coming up, getting back on your feet after an unexpected life turn. [ music playing ]

>>> a great crowd enjoying a