The first line of defense against the Palm Beach County summer sun should be sunscreen. However, consuming tomatoes may provide further protection. From late June to September, tomatoes are at their peak. Pick up some ripe vine tomatoes from any of the local farmer’s markets. Did you know that tomatoes contain lycopene?
Lycopene is abundant in very red tomatoes and offers a long list of health benefits, including sun protection, reduced vascular aging, and helping prevent heart disease, stroke, and memory loss. Lycopene in tomatoes becomes more available when cooked, allowing you to absorb more of this super-nutrient. Tomatoes also contain potassium, an electrolyte that can help muscle contraction, heart function, and water balance regulation.
From late June to September, tomatoes are at their peak. If you want to enjoy tomatoes raw, try combining them with watermelon in a summer salad or try the herbed tomato gratin recipe below.
Herbed Tomato Gratin Recipe
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups crusty whole-grain bread cubes
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (extra for garnish)
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 pounds medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook, stirring periodically, until the bread is brown and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Place the bread in a large mixing bowl. Cream, 1/4 cup cheese, marjoram, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper are gently stirred in. Fill the baking dish halfway with the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top of the tomatoes.
- Bake the gratin for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy on top. If desired, garnish with marjoram.