Cocktails!

Zingy Toms

These little cherry bombs can be prepared well in advance, clear all dietary restrictions aside from non-carbon based, and serve as the ultimate palate cleanser between mixed drinks. I should mention these are based on a recipe from the Martha Stewart H’ors D’Oeuvres Handbook  (1999), a book I highly recommend, both for its fantastic recipes and over a hundred pages of saliva-inducing close-ups bordering on food porn.

24 large cherry tomatoes
1/4 C finely chopped black olives (French or Italian, your choice. Not that there’s no difference, I’m just not much of an olive person.)
1/4 C finely chopped green olives (again, they just need to be green)
3 finely chopped white button mushrooms
1/4 C finely chopped red onion
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

You can prepare the tomato cups up to 24 hours in advance, then keep them wrapped and chilled. The tapenade can also be made ahead of time, but it gets zingier by the hour.

The top of the cherry tomato is the flattest part, so this will be the bottom of the cup. Using a small sharp knife, slice the not-stem end off, far enough up the tomato to hit seed. Use whatever you have on hand to gut the tomatoes; I use a metal quarter-teaspoon, Mrs. H prefers a melon baller. Place the cups face down on a dinner plate lined with a paper towel, wrap the whole thing up and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour to get the tomatoes firm and chilly.

To make the tapenade, mix up all the other ingredients. An anticlimactic ratio of prep work to execution, right? Stuff the tomatoes as full as possible without splitting the skin in your vigor, and plate them up on something fancy.

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