8.26.2011

Cherry Tomato Salads ~ Caprese and Tuscan


I'm going to apologize now for yet another tomato recipe.  I have so many from the garden it seems it's all we eat anymore and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare and showcase them.  For some damn reason, I decided to plant 32 tomato plants, 16 of which are cherry tomato varieties.  I mean, really.  Who can eat that many cherry tomatoes?  It seems we can.  You know how babies who eat too much squash get orange skin?  I'm pretty sure we five will turn red any day now.

I sent my almost-7 year old daughter out to pick some "little tomatoes" for me and she came back with a shitload.  There went the old salad topping idea. Instead I was forced to make the tomatoes the base for the salad.  And I'm so glad I did.

I made two different kinds on two different nights.  That's why some of the photos look bad ~ the fact that we were eating it at 9:30 pm really blew for lighting.  I've done my amateur best to make them look presentable but they still look terrible.  Sorry.


I used what my daughter picked, which was a combination of Sungold (the orange ones), Sweet Million, and Sugary.

The two tomato salads I made were a Caprese and a Tuscan salad.  Both delicious but the Tuscan one was particularly yummy with the addition of creamy cannellini beans.  Once you get the basic idea, it's a breeze to come up with new flavors.


Caprese Cherry Tomato Salad
Serves 4 for side ~or~ 2 for a meal
40 minutes

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 t. sugar
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. olive oil
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 c. torn fresh basil

Toss tomatoes, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  Let macerate for 30 minutes.  Dump the tomatoes and any juice into a salad spinner and spin to dry tomatoes.  Save that precious liquid though!  Return tomatoes to bowl.  Strain tomato liquid over a small saucepan to remove seeds.

Add vinegar and garlic to tomato liquid and simmer until reduced to 3 or 4 tablespoons.  Cool to room temp.  Whisk in oil.

Add cheese, basil, and vinegar/juice mixture to tomatoes in bowl.  Toss and season.


Tuscan Cherry Tomato Salad
Serves 4 for side ~or~ 2 for a meal
40 minutes


2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 t. sugar
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. shaved Parmesan 
1 T. minced fresh rosemary
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Toss tomatoes, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  Let macerate for 30 minutes.  Dump the tomatoes and any juice into a salad spinner and spin to dry tomatoes.  Save that precious liquid!  Return tomatoes to bowl.  Strain tomato liquid over a small saucepan to remove seeds.  

Add vinegar and garlic to tomato liquid and simmer until reduced to 3 or 4 tablespoons.  Cool to room temp.  Whisk in oil.

Add cheese, rosemary, beans, and vinegar/juice mixture to tomatoes in bowl.  Toss and season.

**Update: Not wanting to wait to macerate the tomatoes, I shortened the prep time and it turned out even better!  New recipe below...

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. sugar
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. minced fresh rosemary
1 c. cubes of Parmesan (I use small chunks about the size of a nickel)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Toss tomatoes, rosemary, Parm, and beans in a bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over med-high heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.  Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk to dissolve.  Allow to cool.  Add vinegar and whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over tomato mixture and toss to combine.



Adapted from Cook's Country 2009

1 comment:

Peggy said...

Both salads look incredibly delicious! I could honestly eat cherry tomatoes all day long =)