How glorious is it that it’s peak cherry tomato season? Whether your market carries Sungolds, Datterini, Sweeties, Midnight Snacks, or whatever kind of little tomatoes are available, buy them. Join us in putting them in bowls on our counters for snacking. And feel free to add to our shortlist of how to eat them otherwise.
Before we get to the recipes, we’ve got a couple tips from our very own Kerri Conan:
From a technique standpoint, this tip is important, even if it tales a little extra time and your tomatoes are tiny: Accessing the juices are a must. So you gotta halve them or burst the skins by applying heat.
For the former: halved cherry tomatoes, salt, balsamic, olive oil, lots of whole basil or arugula leaves (or both) and freshly ground black pepper. Toss and let macerate for 5-10 minutes.
For the latter: Heat olive oil in a big skillet over medium-high, toss in whole cherry tomatoes, and keep tossing until the skins crack but the tomatoes are still pretty firm. Off-heat sea salt. Use as a topping for toast, grains, or noodles and toss with greens.
1. Tomato Scramble with Soy Sauce
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds firm tofu
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Put oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid, 5 to 10 minutes. You decide if you want to cook until you have a dry pan or leave some of the liquid before moving on to step 2.
2. Crumble the tofu into the pan and stir, using a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and combine the tofu and tomatoes. Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning. Should the mixture start to stick to the pan, add a tablespoon of water as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped scallions, on the heat. Take off the heat, finish with soy sauce and serve.
— Recipe from The VB6 Cookbook
2. Kathleen’s Free-Form Tomato Galette
Makes: About 8 servings
Time: About an hour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold (frozen is okay) butter
1 egg yolk
30 to 40 cherry tomatoes
A drizzle of olive oil
A teaspoon or 2 of pesto (optional)
1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it, along with the egg yolk. Process until the butter is integrated. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; add cold water, a little at a time, until you can gather the mixture into a ball; wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze until cold. (You can hold this in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze until it dries out, which will be weeks later.)
2. Heat the oven to its maximum. We did this with peaches (butter, brown sugar, cardamom on top) in a hot pizza oven one night; it was probably 800 degrees in there. It cooked in like 90 seconds. Roll the dough into a well-floured peel. Do a nice job of arranging the tomatoes, or just throw them on there. Sprinkle with olive oil and dab with a little pesto. Bake until the crust is nicely browned, turning it occasionally if it’s browning unevenly. This is best served after it cools enough to not burn your tongue.
— Recipe from Grub Street
3. Fresh Pasta Puttanesca
I love a kind of fresh puttanesca situation. Skillet with LOTS of olive oil and garlic, olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes whole or halved, medium heat until they burst and the juices mix with the oil. Some lemon zest at the end. Toss with pasta obviously, or I’ve been baking/simmering/steaming white flaky fish in there. Basil for garnish. So great. — Daniel Meyer
4. Eggplant, La Tavernetta Style
Inspiration from a restaurant in Naples, run by the Vittozzi family.
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: About 30 minutes
2 pounds eggplant of any variety, the smallest you can find
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, slivered
12 good cherry tomatoes, halved, or a couple of plum or medium-size regular tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
1. Cut eggplant into pieces about an inch or two long and no more than a half-inch wide; each piece should have a bit of skin and a bit of flesh. (If eggplant are small, cut them first in long strips, then cut them crosswise. If large, you may end up discarding or reserving the fleshy, seedy center.)
2. Put 1/3 cup oil in a skillet over medium heat; a minute later add eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, and seasoning with salt and pepper until very soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until it colors slightly. Add tomatoes and about 2/3 of the basil, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is saucy, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. When both sauce and eggplant are done, combine them. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, or over pasta, garnished with remaining basil.
— Recipe from The New York Times
5. The Little Italy
Chop or julienne salami and prosciutto, then toss with cubed mozzarella, chopped cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, oil and wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and dried oregano.
6. Grilled Cherry Tomato Sandwich
Skewered, rolled around in oil, grilled directly over a medium fire until charred and soft, but not falling apart. Salted afterward. I’d de-kebab them onto a well-mayo’d slice of bread for a sandwich. — Kerri Conan
7. Tomato Cobbler
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About an hour and a half, mostly unattended
Oil or butter for the baking dish
3 pounds worth of mixed cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper
1 cup AP flour, plus more if needed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into large pieces and very cold
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk
1. Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with the oil or butter. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Put the tomato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
3. Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor along with a teaspoon salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times more, until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse a few times more, until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add a spoonful or 2 more flour. If the mixture is too dry, add a few more drops buttermilk.
4. Gently toss the tomato mixture again and spread it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on top and smooth a bit with a knife. Try to leave some gaps so the steam from the tomato mixture will have a place to escape as the cobbler bakes. Bake until golden on top and bubbly underneath, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to just barely warm or room temperature. To serve, scoop portions out with a large spoon.
8. Cherry Tomato Salad with Soy Sauce
Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of sesame oil, a handful of arugula, and some basil or cilantro. Something crunchy in here (like toasted pine nuts or peanuts) is nice too.
9. Tomato and Tuna Salad
Mix good canned tuna (packed in oil) with chopped tomatoes, chopped olives, capers, chopped anchovies (optional), parsley, olive oil, and lemon. Serve on greens, on crusty bread, on pasta, or right out of the bowl.
10. Red Salad
Combine tomato wedges with halved strawberries, cubed watermelon, basil leaves, shaved parmesan or ricotta salata, and balsamic vinegar.
11. Tomato and Peach Salad
Mix halved tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red pepper flakes (or a couple shakes of hot sauce), and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice.
12. Chicken and Tomato Packets
Don’t let the mess on a plate deter you from making this delicious dinner.
Time: 30 minutes
3 medium ripe tomatoes (or a pint of tomatoes if you have one lying around)
2 garlic cloves
8 boneless, skinless thighs (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs of oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup feta
1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Core and chop the tomatoes; put them in a medium bowl. Peel and mince 2 garlic cloves and add them to the bowl.
2.Cut aluminum foil into 4 rectangles each about 12 x 18 inches. Fold each in half crosswise to crease, then reopen.
3. Spoon the tomato mixture onto 1 half of the rectangle, as close to the center as you can. Top each with 2 chicken thighs, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with a sprig of oregano and a sprinkle of feta.
4.Fold over and seal the packages, rolling the edges tightly to completely enclose the filling.
5.Put the packages on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are tender and saucy, 25 to 30 minutes (open up 1 package to check).
6. Open the packages carefully and serve hot or warm right in the packages on plates with the juices poured over.
— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Fast
13. Curried Tomatoes
Cook whole grape tomatoes in olive oil over high heat until they brown lightly, sprinkling with curry powder or garam masala. Cool a bit, then toss with chopped arugula, loads of chopped mint, and lime juice.
14. Pasta alla Norma
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: Over an hour
20 to 30 cherry tomatoes, depending on size, cut in half
Thyme sprigs, if you have them
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
12 small eggplants, about a pound total, trimmed and cut in half the long way
300 grams of pasta, about 2/3 pound
2 to 3 ounces ricotta salata, grated or diced small
20 basil leaves, torn
1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the tomatoes in one layer in an ovenproof pan and drizzle them liberally with oil, then salt and sprinkle with thyme sprigs, if using. Roast for about an hour, then stir and roast for another half-hour or so. When tomatoes are shriveled, add garlic, turn down heat to 225 degrees, and roast for at least another hour. They should not cook completely dry; if they threaten to overcook, turn the heat down or pull them out. Fish out the garlic if you like.
2. Sizzle the eggplant in about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. The oil should bubble steadily. Turn eggplant as needed until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, cut roughly into strips.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add the eggplant to the tomatoes and stir. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a bit of pasta water. Cook the pasta and warm a serving bowl. At the bottom of the bowl put half the sauce and half the ricotta salata. Add the pasta and the remaining sauce, cheese, and basil and toss.