1 small lemon
1 big fresh thyme or sage sprig
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons excellent olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Though they are cooked, these cherry tomatoes stay remarkably fresh tasting; the juices they release, mixed with olive oil and lemon, become a ready-made sauce. They freeze well too. Come winter, I prefer these to canned tomatoes.—Ronna Welsh
Remove the zest from the lemon with a vegetable peeler and scrape away any white pith. Cut the lemon flesh into quarters.
Put the thyme, tomatoes, oil, and lemon zest in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomato skins begin to split, 15 to 20 minutes. The tomatoes should sweat and swell, not sauté; if they start to brown, turn the heat down. With tongs, squeeze 2 or 3 split-skinned tomatoes to collapse them and release their juices. Stir, cover again, and cook a few minutes more to slightly thicken the juices. Remove from the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon quarter and the salt. Cool in the pan. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1½ cups.