It is for this reason that I offer up this cranberry-free tomato cherry salad. Notice how I said tomato cherry and not cherry tomato, and that is because there are no cherry tomatoes in this tomato cherry salad. Do you follow?
And it's a very, very simple recipe, if you can even call it that. Why? Because I think we need to be careful when we toss 45 ingredients into a salad. If I see a salad on a restaurant menu and it's got 45 ingredients, that's essentially the chef telling me, point blank, 'I do not know which produce items play nicely with which other produce items, and therefore I will put every single thing in my kitchen into this salad, along with dried cranberries.' I'm sorry, but no. I run screaming from 45 ingredient salads, and I encourage you to do the same. Just close the menu, place your napkin gently on the table, and bid adieu. You're better than that, and you deserve more. Or, less.
So here it is: less. Take fresh cherries -- go with Bings or another sweet, red variety, plus some golden blushed Rainiers. Pair them with fresh tomatoes -- mix the colors, and please, if you don't have really good tomatoes near you yet, wait for them. Just do me this one favor. Wait. for. the. really. good. tomatoes. I've got some already, which is why I'm posting this recipe in June. (Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.) Hit with balsamic, and some salt, and you are DONE.
And it's only got four ingredients. Score!
If you absolutely, positively feel you need a fifth ingredient, might I suggest some dried cranberries?
Kidding. (Except I'm not. I think they'd be really good.)
Actually, I'm not kidding.
Recipe for Tomato Cherry Salad
The beauty of this salad lies both in its simplicity and in its somewhat unusual pairing of ripe tomatoes with ripe cherries. They're natural partners, so long as you don't muck them up with excess adornments. Restraint!
Serves four as a side, as part of a larger assortment of salads
1 pound ripe summer heirloom tomatoes, mixed colors
3/4 pound assorted sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar (break out the thick, syrupy stuff if you've got it)
Pinch coarse salt
Slice the tomatoes into wedges, or cut them into large, irregular chunks, roughly the size of the cherries. Sprinkle with the balsamic. (Taste, then add more, if desired.) Season with salt. Serve immediately, at room temperature.