Monday, July 18, 2011

Caramelized Tomato Salad

This salad sounded like a really nice way to use an abundance of cherry tomatoes. Turns out it was more than nice. I'm going to call it delightful. The roasted tomatoes are sweet. The cheese is smoky. The dressing is slightly acidic. The fresh tomatoes are, well, fresh (plus you get a little squirting action when you bite into them). I'm giving it four forks (don't ask me what fork scale I'm using, but four sounds respectable to me).

Makes 8-12 servings

4 pints cherry tomatoes, divided
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 1/2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
6 oz. San Simón cheese* (or smoked gouda), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
6 scallions, thinly sliced
fresh chervil sprigs (for garnish)

*a smoked cheese shaped like a bell, sold at natural foods stores and specialty foods stores.

1.  Preheat oven to 275°F.

2.  Place 2 pints of the tomatoes in 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking dish. Toss with the oil and sugar; add thyme springs. Roast until tomatoes are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Cool caramelized tomatoes in oil. Can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

3.  Using slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to large bowl. Transfer oil from tomatoes to medium bowl (discard thyme). Add vinegar to the oil; whisk to blend. Taste and add more vinegar if needed. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

4.  Add remaining 2 pints fresh tomatoes, cheese, and dressing to bowl with caramelized tomatoes; toss gently. Top with scallions and chervil.

adapted from José Andrés
cherry tomatoes, olive oil and thyme (before roasting)
smoky San Simon cheese
tomatoes and cheese
pouring in the dressing
chopping scallions
ready to dig in
a closer look

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