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Great ideas for cherry tomatoes

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

If you find yourself with lots of cherry tomatoes, here are some bright ideas.

Looking for a quick lunch? Halve an avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pile in halved cherry tomatoes, again seasoned with salt and pepper. Serve it with a piece of crusty bread.

Simply pan roast cherry tomatoes. Heat a skillet and add olive oil. Toss in cherry tomatoes and keep the heat on medium high. Shuffling the tomatoes in the skillet, roast until the skins begin to split. Season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish to any meal.

Cherry Tomato Salad

1 quart cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup canola oil

3 Tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil

1-2 tsp. minced fresh oregano

Place tomatoes in a shallow bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together oil,vinegar, salt and sugar until blended. Stir in herbs. Pour over tomatoes and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate overnight, covered, then allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

24 cherry tomatoes

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber

1 Tbsp. fresh chopped green onion

2 tsp. minced fresh dill

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard pulp (or save to add to tomato sauce); invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth; stir in the cucumber, onion and dill. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate until serving.

Herb-roasted Olives and Tomatoes

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup garlic-stuffed olives

1 cup Greek olives

1 cup pitted ripe olives

8 garlic cloves, peeled

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. herbes de Provence

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the first five ingredients on a greased baking sheet. Add oil and seasonings; toss to coat. Roast until tomatoes are softened, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with an assortment of cheese as an appetizer.

Cherry Tomatoes, Sausage and Broccoli Skillet

1 Tbsp. olive oil

12 ounces cooked Italian sausage (crumbled if bulk, sliced if in links)

2 pints cherry tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 springs thyme

1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into smaller pieces

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Stir to combine. Cook, pressing down on some of the tomatoes with the back of a spoon to encourage bursting, about 2 minutes.

Add broccoli, season with salt and pepper, cook, covered 2-5 minutes, until partly tender.

Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Serve with crusty bread.

Quick-Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

2 pints mixed small tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. (heaping) jarred pesto

1/4 tsp. sugar

1 clove garlic, pressed

Salt and pepper to taste

Halve the tomatoes and add to a large zip-top bag with the sliced onion. Add olive oil, balsamic, parsley, pesto, sugar, garlic and salt and pepper. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Place bag in the refrigerate one hour or longer.

To serve, line a bowl with your favorite lettuce. Top with the tomatoes, marinade and all.

Goes great with grilled meats.

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