Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Salads»Greek»Vegetables»Greek Cherry Tomato Salad Recipe

How do you transform juicy cherry tomatoes into a great salad? For starters, get rid of some juice.

The Problem

Cherry tomatoes exude lots of liquid when cut, quickly turning a salad into soup.

The Goal

Every bite of our salad should deliver sweet tomato flavor.

The Solution

We needed to remove the tomato juice without laboriously cutting open 40 or so cherry tomatoes and painstakingly pushing out the jelly and seeds. Our answer? First, quarter the tomatoes, salt them, and let them drain for 30 minutes. Then, use the centrifugal force generated by a whirling salad spinner bowl to remove the remaining juice. But this method also eliminated the jelly, which research has found to be the most flavorful part of the tomato. We couldn't just add back the jelly (which would re-create the excess liquid problem), but by straining the seeds from the jelly and reducing the jelly to concentrate its flavor (adding garlic, oregano, shallots, and vinegar), we restored a flavorful base tomato flavor without adding extra liquid. Once we had this base, we moved on to develop several variations, including a salad featuring basil and fresh mozzarella and a version with tarragon and blue cheese.