Food & Drink

Oil-and-Herb Cherry Tomatoes

This simple recipe preserves the taste of summer at its peak

photo: Jacqueline Stofsick


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.

Chef Christian Hunter.

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.”

Jacqueline Stofsick


Ingredients

  • (Yield: Approximately one quart)

    • 2 quarts cherry tomatoes sliced in half

    • 3 tbsp. minced garlic

    • 2 tsp. Kosher salt

    • ½ tsp. black peppercorns, ground

    • 2 sprigs thyme, picked

    • 2 tbsp. olive oil

    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

  • Marinade

    • 2½ cups olive oil

    • 1 cup white wine vinegar

    • Herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or tarragon, lemon peels, garlic cloves


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 275° F. Line sheet pan with parchment. Toss tomatoes and remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. After ten minutes, strain away the liquid (reserve for a future salad vinaigrette). Spread tomato mixture on pan and roast in the oven for one to two hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Bake until they are nearly dry and then remove from oven and cool.

  2. For the marinade, mix oil, vinegar, and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Or, for a more concentrated herby flavor, heat oil to 140° F, add herbs, lemon, and garlic, and stir until fragrant. Remove oil from heat and combine with vinegar. Place tomatoes in a clean quart mason or Weck jar. Pour in marinade. Top with a lid and store in the refrigerator. 


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