Sautéed Cherry Tomato Recipe

The thing about cooking (and I guess about almost everything) is that we can really mess it up by making it too complicated.  It’s easy to end up trying to do too much and it’s also easy to be overwhelmed.  But really, cooking should be just EASY, especially when ingredients are fresh and flavorful all on their own. This Sautéed Cherry Tomato Recipe is as easy as it gets… as is the Homemade Pita Chips Recipe that accompanies it.

Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes are versatile and quick, delicious and super-healthy.    You can eat them on pita chips, pile them on chicken, toss them on baked potatoes, or drizzle them over eggs.  You can also eat them off of a spoon all by themselves.  The star of this recipe is the lowly cherry tomato.  There isn’t a simpler or more summery snacking vegetable.  You’ll find Juliettes (bigger) and Smarties (littler) at the market.  Sautéed, they are sugary and rich and almost exotic-tasting.  Here, we pair them with garlic (pungent) and feta cheese (crumbly, cool, and fresh) for a fantastic dish that you can pull together in minutes.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 Pints of Cherry Tomatoes (maybe ½ Juliette, ½ Smartie, just to keep things interesting)
2 Cloves of Garlic, pressed or minced  (We have homegrown garlic at the market too.)
A Container of Feta Cheese (maybe ¼ cup?)—I used reduced fat, not fat free.
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

And then say you want to make some Homemade Pita Chips, just to get crazy?  You’ll need:

A bag of Pita Bread.  (I use Whole Grain)
Some more Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Here’s What You Do:

Start off by halving the cherry tomatoes.  This will allow them to soften a little faster.

Use a good heavy skillet over medium heat.  Give it a decent drizzle of Olive Oil, maybe twice around the pan.  Let it get warm, and then add your garlic.  Cook the garlic for a couple of minutes, but do not let it burn.  (Burnt garlic will make any dish bitter and just about inedible, so if it gets too brown, you will need to start over.)

Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  Let the tomatoes pop and soften, but don’t cook them to oblivion.  They should still hold their shape.  Once the tomatoes have reached this point, remove them from heat and let them cool slightly.

Meanwhile, if you’re going to give the pita chips a shot, preheat your oven to 375.  Cut the pita bread into quarters and pull the sides apart.  Put them on two cookie sheets in single layers.  Drizzle them lightly with Olive Oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  (Since I mentioned the whole quality ingredient idea earlier, let me also mention that I use sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  I really do think you can taste the difference.  Let me also mention that there is nothing wrong with using Costco pita chips out of the bag.  Sometimes that kind of simple is just fine too.)

Put the pita in the oven for 10 minutes, flipping ½ way through.  The chips should be browned and slightly crispy.  (If you put both pans in at once, you may want to switch pan position at the ½ way point.)  Take them out and try to avoid eating them while they are hot enough to burn your mouth.  Little hands will try and sneak these off of the cookie sheet too, so be prepared.

Once your tomatoes have cooled a little bit, put them into a serving dish and top with feta cheese.  (You could mix in ¼ cup of chopped Kalamata Olives at this point—a delicious touch—but I never have those on hand, and anyway this blog is about simplicity.)  Top your pita chips (or other food item of choice) with the tomatoes and cheese and eat.

Here’s hoping that you are having a simply delicious end-of-summer.

See You at the Market.

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