Marinated Tomatoes

cherriesWhen you grow cherry tomatoes, you get a bargain for the space you must a lot them. Yes, they are rambunctious and prone to wandering about.  But staying on top of the prodigious output of a cherry variety — a close descendant of the wild cherry native to the roadways, fields and forest edges of South America  — is a summer feat without the famine. This recipes does cherry tomatoes justice, taking full advantage of the characteristic sweetness inherent in the fruit while providing a colorful and flavor-packed condiment, which you can play with by adding hot peppers and/or sliced lemons. And of course, you can always sub out regular tomatoes, just cut them into smallish chunks.  Fill an attractive jar with the marinated tomatoes and make a gift of it.  If you keep yours in the refrigerator — recommended — you’ll have to bring the tomatoes to room temperature before using as the olive oil congeals with the cold to a butter-like consistency.  The original recipe comes from Southern Living. Adrienne demoed this at the US Botanic Garden in August 2015.

8 cups halved assorted grape tomatoes
1/8 C coarse salt
1 large shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ C olive oil
14 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 C fresh basil, torn
½ t black pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes

Put grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss gently with your hands; let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until vegetables are translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme. Cool completely. Toss together vinegar, next 3 ingredients, tomato mixture, and shallot mixture. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 weeks.  Serve over grilled fish, meat or vegetables; atop crackers and cheese; add to salads.

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