Today I bought 5 lbs. of cherry tomatoes. 4.98 lbs. to be exact. I know this because the cashier, in disbelief, weighed them on his counter scale so we could have an accurate measure and a laugh. What the heck am I doing with all these tomatoes? It all started when I ate dinner at a new restaurant in town, Mani Osteria. They have what turns out to be the very best tomato appetizer on the planet. They pickle them and serve them in a small glass jar doused in olive oil and fresh basil with a side of charred toast. Needless to say I was inspired. I'm pretty sure I've told anyone who would listen how fantastic these little tomatoes are. But at $9 a pop, they are an occasional treat. The obvious solution to this problem is to win the lottery! Or, I suppose, make them at home.
I did a little internet pickling research (you'll see that below) and on my second visit to Mani, I managed to confirm a few secrets with a pickled tomato lovin' waitress.
Here I present my first attempt at pickled heirloom cherry tomatoes:
A few simple ingredients: Cherry tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, lemon peel, garlic, red chili flake, dill and salt.
You have to REALLY want to make these in order to make it through this next step, but it's worth it. Nobody wants to chew on tomato peel. Score each little guy, blanch him in boiling water, then plop him straight into an ice bath. Then peel the skin of EVERY, SINGLE, ONE! (Beware of pruned fingers.)
I'm not much of a measurer, I like to sorta "wing" my recipes. I suppose that explains why I don't bake! :)
Here is a basic ratio of ingredients I found online for 12 ounces of tomatoes:
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 long strip of lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves - slice, chop, whole, however you like 'em!
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
In a pot, melt the sugar and salt down with the water, vinegar & lemon peel. Sweet & sour, yum!! Let it cool & combine the blanched & peeled tomatoes with the remaining ingredients.
Fill up your jars and let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours. I was almost as excited to have a reason to buy these Ball Jars as I was to make the tomatoes!
I'm gunna let these rest in the fridge for a couple of days and then I think I'll try em doused in olive oil with some fresh basil.
While this recipe isn't an exact replica of the Mani tomatoes (seen below) they are super tasty! Has anyone else attempted the great cherry tomato pickle? I'd love to hear about the results!