Maybe it’s dark and cold outside. Maybe it’s sunny and warm outside. I’m often influenced in my cooking decisions by what’s going on outside. Often, but not always.
When there are some cherry tomatoes on the counter (and I know I have the rest of the ingredients in the pantry), it’s time to make a super easy, super tasty cherry tomato salad with an uber-aromatic warm garlic and shallot dressing in no time.
This dish is not only delicious, but it’s also a dish that will make you a better chef. It’s all about tasting. Tasting as you prepare a dish is more important than anything else you do in cooking. Tomatoes are known to have umami taste but are also acidic. So we’ll need salt to balance everything. But how much salt? We don’t know. Because every tomato tastes different. Every salt is different.
You’ll finish this dish by drizzling some extra virgin olive oil over it, but how much? I don’t know. It depends what kind of olive oil you’re using and how strong you like that particular flavor to be part of your dish.
You see, when I started cooking 30 years ago, I used cookbooks and recipes. I would find a delicious dish while traveling and then go home, dig through my cookbooks to find that particular dish’s recipe, and start to recreate it. Do you think I ever succeeded? Of course not.
Instead of paying attention to a recipe, pay attention to what happens to your food, your ingredients while cooking. Add a little lemon juice to something and try. Go to an olive oil store and try some different (not flavored) olive oils. Or some vinegars. Buy a bunch of fresh herbs and add some to your tomato sauce. What happens?
Anyway, sorry for getting carried away. Here at maplewoodroad.com we’re all about trying, experimenting, finding out. It’s about having an aha-effect instead of being perfect.
Let’s get back to the cherry tomato salad with a warm garlic-shallot dressing.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Chili pepper flakes
- Italian flat leaf parsley
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Chives (optional)
- French baguette (optional)
See the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and their measurements.
🥗 How to make the salad
Cut cherry tomatoes in half and marinate in about ½ teaspoon salt in a colander. Chop two small shallots and thinly slice a couple garlic cloves, set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat about 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, add shallots, and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another minute or so (learn more about garlic here). Smell, feel, watch, taste! Both the shallots and garlic will release their fragrant oils (smell) and soften up a little bit (feel). Make sure they don’t brown (watch) - this would mean that either your olive oil is too hot or you left them in there too long.
Pour the warm garlic-shallot oil in a bowl and add the tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, a couple cranks of freshly ground black pepper, and give it a good toss. Now is the perfect time to taste before adding the parsley and chili pepper flakes (taste). Make sure it’s balanced and fits your palate.
Once you like it, add chopped parsley and about 1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes. Garnish with some chives, if you happen to have some, and drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil. Serve while still warm with a couple slices of baguette. Pretty darn delicious, right?
⭐ Note: Salt the tomatoes in a colander for 15 minutes, before combining them with the other ingredients. The salt will intensify the flavor of the tomatoes, while simultaneously draining liquid from them. And for the nerds out there: yes, you are correct, it’s called osmosis 🤓
After eating about half of it, I suddenly felt like adding another flavor layer. It’s always good to have a tub of feta cheese in the fridge. Adding some crumbled feta turned out to be a really nice addition! Adding some basil would certainly work fantastic, too.
Love tomatoes? Check out a few more of our recipes with tomatoes now:
- Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo - Mamma Mia That's Good!
- Super Easy Oven Baked Cod
- BLT with Brown Sugar, Bacon, and Fresh Garden Herbs
- Tomato Gazpacho to Cool Off During the Dog Days of Summer
- Ceviche - A Fancy Expensive Seafood Dish Made Easy at Home?
Bonus: Learn the Best Way to Peel Garlic (and how to buy, cook, and store it)
Did you make this Cherry Tomato Salad recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
Cherry Tomato Salad with Garlic-Shallot Dressing
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 small shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes
- ½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Chives (optional)
- French baguette (optional)
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and marinate in about ½ teaspoon salt in a colander
- Chop two small shallots and thinly slice a couple garlic cloves, set aside
- In a small saucepan, heat about 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat
- Add shallots and saute for about 2 minutes
- Add garlic and cook for another minute or so
- Toss the warm garlic-shallot oil in a bowl and add the tomatoes
- Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, a couple cranks of freshly ground black pepper, and give it a good toss
- Now it’s the perfect time to taste
- Add chopped parsley and about 1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes
- Garnish with some chives (optional) and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil
- Add some crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Serve while still warm with a couple slices of baguette
Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
This is so delicious. I had a lot of cherry tomatoes in my garden this year to use up so this was perfect. And the dressing is just wow!
Garden tomatoes are the best! Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂