K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid. Have you heard that before? It's a design principle, originally created by the US Navy, that emphasizes simple solutions over the more complex. In cooking, keeping it simple means letting ingredients speak for themselves. A recipe with 25 ingredients isn't necessarily better than one with three ingredients, if those three work together and enhance each other. I could have called this recipe KISS tomatoes. I could have added more ingredients (garlic, cheese, dried oregano, onion, bell peppers, etc. etc. etc.), but really, all that needed to be there were the tomatoes and a few fresh herbs. We enjoyed these burst tomatoes as a dip for some toasted bread and, later in the day, as a sauce for penne pasta with just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. If we'd had any left (None. Demolished.), bruschetta would have been on the menu, too. For the tomatoes, I used a box from the grocery store; they're out of season here in New England, but for this dish, they were just fine, as were the fresh herbs I bought at the market. In the summer, garden-fresh tomatoes and herbs will make this recipe sing.
Burst tomatoes with fresh herbs
From the pantry, you'll need: extra virgin olive oil, mild red pepper flakes, mixed herbs, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.
Makes 2 cups of tomato "sauce", to be used as a dip, sandwich topping, or pasta sauce. Can be multiplied.
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups whole fresh cherry tomatoes, any color or a mix of colors and shapes
Pinch of mild red pepper flakes
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs: scallions, flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil (use any herbs you like)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over low-medium heat.
Add all of the tomatoes. Cover the pan with a splatter shield, or cover yourself with an apron.
Cook, shaking the pan from time to time, for 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and begin to burst. Do not smoosh them with a spoon, or cut them, or cajole them in any way. The bursting will happen, and some tomato juices will ooze out into the pan and combine with the olive oil.
After a handful of the tomatoes have burst open, and others look like they want to join in, toss in the red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. Stir gently or shake the pan for a minute or two.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove the pan from heat. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, and enjoy it as a dip with toasted bread, a sandwich filling, or a sauce for pasta, or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
More ideas for using burst tomatoes:
Tomato and goat cheese bruschetta, from The Perfect Pantry
No-cook summer antipasto, from The Perfect Pantry
Pasta with tuna and tomato sauce, from Simply Recipes
Pasta salad with slow-roasted tomatoes, grilled zucchini, and basil, from Kalyn's Kitchen
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