An abundance of sweet cherry tomatoes is among the best problems to have during summer in the South. If—after tossing tomatoes in salads, baking with them, eating them warm off the vine, and sharing them with neighbors—you still have a never-ending tomato pile, consider preserving them in oil.
Christian Hunter, the chef de cuisine at Sorghum & Salt in Charleston, South Carolina, uses a simple method to capture the sweetness of late-summer tomatoes. “Drying them out a bit concentrates the flavor,” says Hunter, who was raised in Lexington, Kentucky. “And then preserving them in oil and vinegar lets you have tomatoes way after the season is over.”
He slow roasts the cherry tomatoes, and then combines them in a jar with an oil and vinegar marinade seasoned with herbs. His basic recipe allows for plenty of experimentation. “Heat up the oil just slightly and toss with lemon peels, garlic, or your favorite herb like rosemary, thyme, or tarragon.”
He recommends spooning the herby tomatoes over grilled bread, using the marinade as a vinaigrette, and snacking on the tomatoes straight out of the jar. “It lasts three months in the fridge,” he says, “but it’ll be gone well before then.”