To Halve or Halve Not

It took a bumper crop or two of my own cherry tomatoes before I realized the full extent of their versatility.  That is, after I acquired a little restraint and learned to resist the unwieldy urge of eating them fresh off the vine. 
Here’s a very handy idea, so easy and adaptable that it is hardly a recipe.  (Of course, there as so many varieties of these sweet  babies, any of them will work just fine).   I refer to this concept simply as Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, but beyond that there are plenty of ways to proceed depending on time, need and preference:  such as to halve, or halve not; or to cook, or to go raw.

One lovely compromise is to heat the marinade and pour it over the tomatoes.  This is truly delicious with a little aged balsamic vinegar, truffle oil, and a couple of fresh herbs.  If the tomatoes are whole and left to stand and marinate, the skins will ultimately crack and burst.  

In the previous entry which includes Lentils and Kale, the marinated tomatoes are shown as a relish, an added topping.  The zinginess of the vinegar provides a bit of punch and color that brightens this hearty dish.
An old favorite is to serve the marinated tomatoes as a topping for bruschetta or crostini.  Then consider whether to serve them straight up, as is, or to broil them topped with a melting cheese, such as provolone or chevre. 
There’s always the magically appearing salad where the marinated tomatoes supply an utterly effortless all-in-one salad complement.  They provide the necessary dressing and also star atop a lovely melange of fresh greens and herbs.  When I make these ahead, I bring the tomatoes to room temperature before serving, and their sweetness really shines.

Marinated Baby Tomatoes
·         1 tbsp. olive oil
·         2 cloves garlic flattened and sliced into slivers
·         1 tsp. fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and or savory
·         ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes or more, or coarse ground pepper
·         ½ tsp. coarse salt
·         1 basket or more baby tomatoes, halved or not
·         ¼ cup sherry vinegar, balsamic or vinegar of choice
·         1-2 green onions, chopped
1.       In small sauté pan heat olive oil over low/moderate heat and add the garlic and herbs.  Allow the flavors to infuse the oil, 3- 5 minutes.
2.       Add the tomatoes and toss to combine; add the vinegar and bring to gentle simmer, cook 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the green onions.  Serves 6 approximately.

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