Meet the ugly ducklings of the tomato family: oddly shaped, splotchy, and split, but also spectacular. Heirlooms are rare—and, yes, pricey—varieties grown for pure-summer flavor, not picture-perfect looks. These recipes let their inner beauty shine.

By Heath Goldman

Rainbow Bright

Some of the common heirloom varieties you’ll find in the market (also shown here) include: Brandywines, which are similar to beefsteaks; Sungolds, which are like cherry tomatoes but sweeter; and tart, firm Green Zebras—try frying ’em!

Recipes by Robin Bashinsky