Cherry tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients to use all year long, whenever I need a bite of brightness. Tasty, versatile and perfectly ripe whenever you pop one in your mouth, they also are popular with kids and a good way to get little ones to eat their veggies. My youngest son loved cherry tomatoes so much that as a toddler he would often sneak into my little vegetable garden and eat every one of them right off the plant.
As I was thumbing through one of my new favorite cookbooks, Martha Holmberg’s “Modern Sauces” (Chronicle Books), I noticed a cherry tomato recipe that hits all the right marks. It’s quick and easy, and adaptable to anyone’s tastes: Flash-Sautéed Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce.
While the book is packed with page after page of mouthwatering recipes, this one caught my eye as being particularly family-friendly. The sauce itself is simple; just a quick sauté of the tiny tomatoes with garlic, and a little spike of lemon zest and juice. It does contain a bit of heat in the form of minced chiles, but don’t let that hold you back. It adds only a touch of heat, and could be left out entirely for those with extra-sensitive palates.
In her book, Holmberg suggests using the flavor-packed sauce on angel hair pasta with a little canned tuna and green olives tossed in to make an even more satisfying dish.
This isn’t your mother’s tuna and noodles, and it is a dish you have to taste to understand. The mild tuna and briny olives are the perfect foil for the sweet cherry tomatoes.
And one of the beauties of the recipe is that you can substitute sautéed chicken, shrimp or even tofu for the tuna, if that’s more to your family’s taste.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.