The best tomatoes come from our summer gardens and from the farmer’s market. They deserve to be eaten fresh, preferably still warm from the sun, with perhaps a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. However, summer doesn’t last and I don’t buy tomatoes from the grocery store; except when I want to make roasted tomatoes. Then I buy pints of pear or cherry tomatoes and doll them up with garlic and other savories. And recently I have added panko for an additional textural dimension.
The original recipe is from Chef Gordon Hamersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home, which I highly recommend that you add to your library (if you like French bistro style food). The steps outlined are how I execute this dish, which is a little different than from the original. The recipe below has been doubled because the dish tends to disappear and really didn’t serve 4. Try using balsamic vinegar instead of wine vinegar and the dish will come out sweeter. It’s great both ways. A few steps and you’re in heaven. Let me know how you love it.
Heavenly Garlicky Tomatoes
Serves 4 to 6
½ cup panko crumbs
1 tb unsalted butter
2 tb olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pints cherry, pear or other mini tomatoes
2 tbs red wine vinegar or balsamic
1 tsp kosher salt
2+ pinches red pepper flakes
2+ pinches sugar
¼ cup toasted pine nuts, sprinkled with a little salt
4 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll up and cut into strips)
Melt butter in a medium fry pan and gently toast panko crumbs until light golden brown, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350̊. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and sugar. Put saucepan in the oven and roast tomatoes until very tender but not necessarily mushy, about 12 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 425̊. Add the pine nuts and continue to bake until juices from tomatoes have been released and reduced, 8 to 10 minutes, or to your preference. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with salt, panko and basil. Serve hot or warm.