Cherry Tomato Salad with Garlic and Fresh Herbs, with Variations and Serving Suggestions

Honestly it is a challenge for me to save up a quart of cherry tomatoes because we all want to beat out the critters and eat them from the vine!  I do not recall seeing very many recipes for them although my Grandmother did make Cherry Tomato Preserves which were delicious.  Lately there are a few and this is adapted from one I saw Ree Drummond make on The Pioneer Woman awhile back.

This is a salad born for summer with fresh herbs and tomatoes plentiful.  You could just cut up regular tomatoes but it is so attractive to nestle the little red and/or yellow globes into a butter lettuce cup.  Oh my....just lovely.

You could make this using shallots with chives which I almost did this morning but the fragrance of that basil I have planted outside every door of my home and in the garden just got to me!  I find the scent of basil heavenly mingled with the aroma of growing tomato plants.  Heck, I could toss this salad atop a freshly baked pizza and be in heaven.

Ingredients for Cherry Tomato Salad with Garlic and Fresh Herbs:

4 T. good extra virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
1 quart fresh cherry tomatoes washed and halved ( nice to vary the color but lovely all red ripe)
16-18 fresh washed basil leaves chiffonade
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Using a flat heavy bottomed pan combine the olive oil, salt. pepper, and garlic and saute over medium heat for a minute or so until the garlic just begins to turn golden.  Immediately remove from the heat as it can burn and be ruined quickly. 

Cool while you halve the tomatoes and prepare the basil.  Stir everything together to combine.  Cover and let sit to meld the flavors.  Serve as is or pour into lettuce cups or over a big bowl of washed and prepared lettuce greens.  Or, top a perfectly grilled steak, a burger, a tuna salad, gosh I can go on and on!

Yield 1 quart tomato salad.

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