Grape Tomato Salad

I’ve never been a fan of the old varieties of cherry tomatoes. Sure, they are cute, but they can be hard as rocks and often lack real tomato flavor. Even worse, they turn into projectiles if you spear them off-center with a fork when they are part of a tossed salad.

A new type of miniature tomato is now available in the produce department of every grocery store these days, the grape tomato.

Called grape tomatoes due to their oblong shape, they are smaller than cherry tomatoes and have a higher sugar content and more of that tangy tomato flavor similar to a vine-ripened tomato.

Having grown dozens of flavorful varieties of tomatoes over the years, I appreciate a good tomato. I rarely buy out-of-season or hothouse tomatoes, they just don’t do anything for me. Not having a garden here in Vegas means I either have to do without a good tomato, or get by with canned tomatoes. Luckily, thanks to a buy-one-get-one-free deal on grape tomatoes that enticed me to try my first grape tomatoes, I have found these little grape tomatoes are really quite good for more than just tossing into a salad. When briefly chopped in my mini food processor they make an outstanding pizza sauce or bruschetta topping. They make a fantastic fresh salsa sliced in half and tossed with jalapenos, lime juice, cilantro and minced onions. As if this isn’t good enough, these gems seem to keep for a much longer time than ordinary tomatoes.

We grill outdoors frequently and this salad (almost a relish, really) is outstanding with a grilled steak or chicken. It’s also one the best tomato toppings for an Italian submarine sandwich, hamburgers and hot dogs.  This isn’t a fussy recipe. The seasonings are simple and are to your taste. A teaspoon of olive oil brings everything together here, but may be eliminated for a fat-free option.

Grape Tomato Salad

10-16 ounces grape tomatoes

½  sweet white onion (Vidalia types are the best for this)

vinegar to taste (wine, rice or apple cider vinegar )

salt to taste

olive oil

Wash and drain the tomatoes well. With a sharp, thin bladed knife, slice each tomato into halves or thirds, depending on size. Place in a small mixing bowl.

Slice the onions into thin slivers and add to the sliced tomatoes. Add a few pinches of salt and taste for seasoning. Add a few drops of vinegar and taste again for seasoning. Use more if desired for a tangier salad.

Finish with a teaspoon of olive oil and set aside at room temperature for an hour or so before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Serves 2-3 as a side dish or relish.

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