Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cherry Tomato Salad

This salad came about as part of an effort to use up things in our kitchen.  We had cherry tomatoes from the farmers' market, plus an English cucumber, feta cheese, kalamata olives and fresh parsley, all in the fridge.  It was also part of our millionth resolution to eat healthy.  As always, I have my doubts that our resolution will stick, but that's ok.  At least we get a few healthy meals out of it.  

I found this recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, which originally found the recipe in Cook's Illustrated.  And then I also saw it on Annie's Eats.  Both blogs had much prettier pictures than mine.  Oops.  I am perfectly happy to admit that food styling is not my forte and my dishes are pretty boring.  If only I had a house with a decent sized kitchen I would own a variety of fun serving dishes, but I just don't have the cabinet space in my little NYC apartment kitchen!  I am always oogling pretty new dishes from Anthropologie, Fishs Eddy and Crate and Barrel.  I went through an Etsy obsession too, but I had to rein myself in.  Anyway, this salad might not look pretty but it was pretty nice to eat.  It's not one of those "oh my god, where have you been all of my life" recipes, but I didn't think it would be.  I liked the concept of using the tomato liquid to create a vinaigrette so the salad really is all about the tomatoes.  The shallots that are simmered in the tomato liquid while it is reducing become super sweet and delicious, which I thought was really nice.  I might follow the lead of The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Annie's Eats and omit the kalamata olives in the future.  I love olives, but I felt like they were a little overwhelming in this recipe.  The ingredients are very similar to other quasi Greek salads we have made before, but somehow the salad tasted pretty unique.

Recipe after the jump!

Cherry Tomato Salad

2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups) (see note)
kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 dried oregano
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp evoo
ground black pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Toss tomatoes, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Transfer the tomatoes to a salad spinner and spin until the seeds and excess liquid have been removed, about 1 minute, stirring to redistribute the tomatoes several times during spinning.  Return the tomatoes to the bowl and set aside. Strain the tomato liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Bring 1/2 cup tomato liquid (discard any extra), garlic, oregano, shallot, and vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer until the mixture is reduced to roughly 3 tbsp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil and pepper to taste until combined. Taste and season with up to 1/4 tsp kosher salt.

Add the cucumber, olives, feta, dressing, and parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes.  Toss gently and serve.

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