A year ago May, my friend Rena came over for drinks. She brought a gift: a spindly tomato sprout she had started from seed. Given my lack of success starting tomato plants from seed, I was skeptical that I could get this fledging plant to survive the transplanting into the garden, much less produce fruit. But trying to be gracious, I thanked her very much and planted it in a high-sun corner of the garden.
Lo and behold, it survived. And thrived.
This spring, as I was cleaning the garden and weeding the vegetable beds, I noticed a leaf formation that looked like a tomato sprout, wedged in with the mint.
I carefully dug it out, and replanted it with a cage around it. Who knew what would appear.
Sure enough, it was a yellow cherry tomato plant, an off-spring of that original gift from Rena. I couldn’t even imagine the first plant surviving, much less getting a second year’s harvest from it.
Thank you Rena for the gift that keeps on giving!
Caramelized Cherry Tomato Sauce
This recipe comes from my farmer friend Brett and was developed when he was the chef at Restaurant Nora and I was the grill cook.
3 pints whole cherry tomatoes and/or cubed bigger heirloom tomatoes
½ tsp. Kosher or sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tbs. minced onion
½ to 1 tsp. fresh orange zest
2 T brown sugar
fresh basil, tarragon or thyme
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1. Mix together tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic and onions.
2. Attentively broil, not bake, in an oven until the skins of the top tomatoes have just blackened. Remove from broiler, and stir in half of the above chopped herbs, or fresh herbs of your choice (not dill). Add balsamic vinegar, and taste for any further need for salt or pepper.
3. The sauce is outstanding served atop otherwise mundane chicken, fish, shrimp, or vegetarian rice dishes. It freezes well, but taste after thawing for additional herb, vinegar, or salt needs.