Tomatoes Are The Key To Switching Up Ice Cream Night

Sprinkles, chopped nuts, and chocolate sauce may be some of the most common ingredients used to top ice cream, but they definitely aren't the only options. Unconventional toppings like miso caramel and crumbles of maple-glazed bacon can also make a sundae more interesting, so why not take things a step further? For a burst of sweet-meets-savory goodness, we recommend topping ice cream with tomatoes.

There's nothing quite like a juicy summertime tomato. Ultra ripe and ultra sweet, there's no shortage of funky heirloom varieties to choose from. Whether you're partial to a honeyed grape tomato or tangy green zebra or even a smoky chocolate tomato, any variety can add a wow factor to ice cream. Sure to turn heads, adding the produce to frozen treats is not only a great way to enhance aesthetics, but it also makes sense flavor-wise.

Balancing ice cream's decadence, tomatoes add a refreshing burst of acidity. They also impart a subtle sugary quality that allows the pairing with the frozen dessert to be quite cohesive. That said, if you're confused as to how to best introduce tomatoes into your ice cream night lineup, we're here to help.

A guide to pairing tomatoes and ice cream

Not every ice cream flavor is destined to be a match for tomatoes. Generally, neutral flavors like milky fior di latte or simple custard-based ice creams can be a great starting point. Drawing on tomatoes' sweetness and acidity, fruity sorbets like watermelon, citrus, or strawberry can also make for successful pairings. Alternatively, tomatoes can also prove to be the perfect topping for equally savory ice cream such as olive oil, roasted garlic, or even goat cheese-based flavors.

As for how to add tomatoes, extremely ripe varieties will have a honeyed quality that will allow them to be used raw. For tart or earthy renditions, they can be made sweeter through processes that allow for caramelization, such as roasting or slowly simmering into a compote or jam, before being dolloped over top of ice cream. Additionally, should you have leftover tomato jelly from last night's charcuterie board, you can even melt that into syrup for drizzling.

For the final touch, trade in a crimson cherry for other savory toppings such as a sprig of peppery basil, a pinch of flakey sea salt, or a few candied capers or ginger pieces to balance umami and sweetness. You can also garnish with some floral olive oil or syrupy, aged balsamic to amplify complexity. While it may not be the most traditional of ice cream customizations, working tomatoes into your ice cream night is definitely worth a try.