Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Fresh Cherry Tomato Relish – A Reduction Production

Photo Note: All the decent photos of this recipe were lost in a tragic beer-related editing mishap. The thumbnail you see to the left is the only survivor, and not the best quality. I considered “borrowing” a photo from some unsuspecting online source, but then realized that would not be ethical (and coincidentally didn’t see any I liked) and so I decided to use the one I had. OK, on to the recipe.

Here’s the idea; we take the liquid that’s produced by marinating fresh cherry tomatoes in salt, pepper and vinegar, and strain it into a pan. We then take this already delicious juice, and make it even more so by reducing it over heat thereby evaporating most of the water. This intensified liquid is poured back into the tomatoes and we have a great fresh tomato relish, or tomato vinaigrette (if you want to be all fancy) that we can top some grilled meat, chicken, or fish.

This is an extremely common culinary technique that Chefs have used since the beginning of time to improve the flavor of all kinds of things. A “Reduction” is one of those Chef secrets that most home cooks don’t bother with, or maybe don’t even know about. Most of you have made a basic tomato salad or relish and simply eaten it as is, or topped whatever. That’s fine, and it tasted great, I’m sure. But, by reducing the water content from sauces and dressings, you can produce even more impressive results.

By the way, I suggest ALWAYS using cherry tomatoes for this recipe. Large ripe tomatoes are just too hard to find, even in the summer (unless you have some in your garden of course), and most markets have an almost year-long supply of decent cherry tomatoes available. Look for “Sweet 100’s,” “Red Grape,” and “Sun Gold” varieties, which all are pretty consistently sweet.

handful of cherry tomatoes
clove of garlic
splash of olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper


Anonymous said...

Mmmmm..."beer related editing mishap..." Totally my kind of mishap. You are hilarious!

Anonymous said...

OMG and I just read the reduction part. Jeez...I need to try that next time w/ my tomatoe viniagrette. My tastebuds are screamin' right now.

Chef John said...

Thanks! Hey, let's trade links to our site. What do you say?

Anonymous said...

Can we use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar?

Steffen P said...

I seem to remember that you have made this once before, with different colored thomatoes?

Steffen P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steffen P said...

Ups, I was wrong.. You didn't reduce that one. My memory must be low on batteries..

Chef John said...

Yes, balsamic would be great with this, or rice vinegar, or lemon juice, etc. almost anything.