The Foods Carla Hall Recommends You Cook Before Summer Ends - Exclusive

If you're a fan of Food Network's series of seasonal baking championships, you're likely already familiar with judge Carla Hall. While she rose to national attention on "Top Chef," she's now a staple personality on the Food Network, where she just wrapped up the "Summer Baking Championship." When it comes to summer eats, Hall has lots of opinions, and while she loved the sweet-spicy winning combos that appear on the show, her personal favorite seasonal eats are a little more grill-focused and produce-centric, as she revealed in a recent exclusive interview with Tasting Table.

"You've got to get those tomatoes," she said. "One of my favorite things [is] cutting up the tomatoes and putting salt on them, letting them drain ... You take the tomatoes and cheese with the hot sauce [that] you make in olive oil. You make this beautiful sauce with those tomatoes and a little bit of red wine vinegar and salt. Then, you get the juice, which you're going to use for a vinaigrette, but the tomatoes are going to be tossed with hot pasta and cheese and basil. It is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes for late summer tomatoes."

Throw your favorite seasonal fruit on the grill

When it comes to firing up the grill, Carla Hall has a few other favorite summertime eats that go beyond your basic tomato sauce or grilled corn on the cob. Instead, she's reaching for the fruit — and some heat.

"I love peaches and chile. I love cherries with a little bit of jalapeño," she said. "One of the things that I do when I'm grilling is make these packets ... I put the fruits — cut up, or the cherries pitted and whole — into a foil packet with a little bit honey, sugar, [or] agave and cornstarch." And though you could certainly eat these alone for a fruity treat, Hall describes them as "the perfect topping for ice cream, for grilled pound cake."

In a recent Instagram post, Hall also recommended grilling figs, and she offered a special tip for any home cooks who are looking to give this grilled snack a try.

"I would put them in [a grill basket]," she told us. "Put olive oil on them, a little bit of salt. The grill basket is great so they don't stick. If you don't have a grill basket, take a piece of heavy foil, poke holes in it, spray that foil, and place your figs on that ... you're still going to get that smokiness." Sounds like the perfect grilled treat to close out the summer — and presumably, you could try this trick with other fruits you want to put on the grill as well if figs aren't your thing.

Hall is currently an ambassador for the National Honey Board. Learn more about the Honey Saves Hives program at