Looking for something new and different to have “on the side”? Oven roasted grape (or cherry) tomatoes make a quick, easy and healthy change from the regular peas and carrots. Dressed up with Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and more, they are tasty and elegant as well.
As they aren’t heavy, they also make a nice side dish alongside main courses that are sauce heavy or rich. These pair up nicely with Chicken Breast with Mustard and Tarragon.
Oven Roasted Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
I have made these many times and they are always well received and an attractive side dish. Over time, I have made a few changes to the topping: 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup best quality freshly grated parmesan, 2 cloves finely minced garlic, 3 tbsp. finely minced onion, fresh minced parsley and/or basil, lots of fresh coarsely ground pepper. Mix topping thoroughly, then evenly sprinkle over tomatoes and bake/broil as directed. Garnish with fresh snipped chives. The resulting dish is bursting with flavour and is a novel way to serve these little tomato gems. Have even partially “smashed” the finished tomatoes, then mixed into cooked pasta and added a little light cream if not “saucy” enough. Quick, easy and delicious!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 12-ounce baskets cherry tomatoes (a combination of yellow and red looks especially nice!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs (fresh is best, but dried will work as well)
(Optional: 1 or 2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped basil, 1 or 2 finely minced garlic cloves and/or finely minced onion)
Pour oil into 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut tomatoes in half and add to baking dish, stirring to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and any other toppings you’re using. Sprinkle over tomatoes. (For making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point for up to 1 day).
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tomatoes just until plump and shiny but not split, about 10 minutes. Then, preheat broiler and broil until tomatoes begin to split and cheese begins to color, about 2 minutes.