Cherry Tomato Salad with a Warm Garlic-Shallot Dressing
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 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 Tomato Salad Preparation
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:
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Did you make this Cherry Tomato Salad recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
Cherry Tomato Salad with a Warm Garlic-Shallot Dressing
- 3 c cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon 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 c Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ c 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
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