Sun Gold cherry tomatoes deliver big on flavor

By Joe Gray
Chicago Tribune

Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are a treasure — and I don't think that's an over-the-top claim or hyperbole at all.

If you've had them, then you know: Just skip down to the recipe. If you haven't tasted them, then you must. The name is apt; they're liquid gold, distilled from sunshine. But you've got to find a good producer. (Those I've had from grocery stores cannot compete for flavor against Sun Golds directly from a farmer, but maybe you'll have better luck.) If you taste one at a farmers market and it's not intensely flavored and wonderfully sweet, move on to the next grower and try again.

After you've had your fill eating them out of hand, consider cooking with them. They are best when subjected just briefly to heat so that the sweetness is intensified but the freshness remains. Try the easy method here, in which just barely breaking-down Sun Golds creates a sweet foil for savory sausage.


■You can substitute two fresh Italian sausages for the precooked, cooking them before slicing into ½-inch coins.

■Precooked brown rice can be found at some grocery stores, often in the frozen aisle.

Sauteed Tomatoes with Sausage and Goat Cheese

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

¼ teaspoon salt

About 4 precooked Italian sausages, about 9 ounces total, sliced in about ½-inch pieces, crosswise

½ cup green olives, pitted, cut in quarters lengthwise

2 cups precooked brown rice, heated

½ cup fresh goat cheese or blue cheese crumbles

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes; season with a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. (Tomatoes will continue to cook with the other ingredients, so they should not cook too much at this stage.)

Stir in the sausage. Turn the heat to medium. Cook until just heated through. Off the heat, stir in the olives. Serve in big bowls over the rice, topped with the crumbled cheese. Serves 2.

Per serving: 707 calories; 44 g fat (13 g saturated fat; 56 percent calories from fat); 58 g carbohydrates; 7 g sugar; 72 mg cholesterol; 1,468 mg sodium; 24 g protein; 7 g fiber.