This recipe is great as a side dish, but I also like it poured on top of pasta or polenta, stirred into risotto, spread warm over toast, or chilled and spread onto your hamburgers. It’s best if the tomatoes come from your garden, but if you have a black thumb (like me) good quality, perfectly ripe market tomatoes work just as well.
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups cherry tomatoes (choose assorted colors if you can)
1 teaspoon unrefined salt – try Halen Mon, Cyprus flake, fiore de sal, Black Diamond, smoked salt, or a salt infused with fennel seed, basil, or chipotle
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add a third of the tomatoes, and cook, shaking gently, until they start to break their skin, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add another third of the tomatoes and the ½ teaspoon of the salt. Continue to cook, shaking and stirring for another 3-4 minutes, until tomatoes are deflated. Remove tomatoes from the pan to a dish, and return the pan to the heat.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, then add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic softens, about 1 minute. Add the remaining raw tomatoes, the reserved cooked tomatoes, then cook, stirring, until the last batch of tomatoes begins to deflate. The mixture should be juicy and thick, and have a variety of tomato texture. Remove from heat and season with lemon juice and another pinch of salt Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
Balsamic Tomatoes – Finish this dish with ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon juice, add handful of basil leaves, cut in chiffonade, and finish with a grating of fresh Parmesan or some diced buffalo mozzarella.
Fennel Tomatoes – Before you burst the tomatoes, sauté a sliced fennel bulb in the olive oil with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of toasted and crushed fennel seeds. Remove it from the pan, then stir it back into the mix when the tomatoes are done. Garnish with some reserved fennel fronds.