I am always enticed by cherry tomatoes at the farmers market. All the pretty colors and shapes and sizes. They are all just so pretty, though the perfect orbs of a classic Sweet 100 or Tumbling Toms always catch my eye. And, as with much of the bounty of summer produce, I have a tendency to over buy, with no fixed plan for how to use them. And though popping the little tomatoes straight in my mouth, or serving them simply drizzled with a vinaigrette are good options, sometimes I want to try something a little different with a little more intrigue. And adding heat brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes beautifully. And to complement that sweet tang of the melting tomatoes, I love a bed of candied caramelized onions. The bread crumbs add a crispy finish, but also soak up the lovely juices that ooze from the onions and the tomatoes.
I prefer evenly round, classic cherry tomatoes for this dish rather than the multicolored and unevenly sized versions. Oregano is a great complement to summer tomatoes, but thyme or marjoram would work just as well. I have eaten this dish on its own as a meal, but it makes a wonderful side dish to grilled meat or a roasted chicken. And though I adore this with fresh summer cherry tomatoes, it can boost the flavor of hothouse cherry tomatoes throughout the year.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- one bunch of fresh oregano
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup dried bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Pour the olive oil into a medium sized oven-safe skillet. Add the onions and cooke over medium heat until they are soft and just beginning to brown. Pour in a ½ cup of water and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the onions area nice soft and glassy and a nice caramelized brown. This should take about 20 minutes. Finely mince about ¼ cup of oregano leaves and add 2 Tablespoons to the onions with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to evenly distribute the herbs. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the onions out in an even layer. Spread the cherry tomatoes over the onions in as even a layer as possible (some make stick up into a second layer). Mix the bread crumbs with the remaining oregano and sprinkle evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and collapsing and slightly charred in some places and the bread crumbs are browned. I like to turn the broiler on for a few minutes, watching carefully, just to create a nice, browned top.
- Let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before serving.