Cherry tomatoes respond well to roasting -- their skins caramelize and sweeten, and their pulp concentrates, so you end up with blistered tomato candy. And if you add enough olive oil to the roasting pan, the tomato juices emulsify with the oil, making for a wildly good dressing.
Sometimes, I roast cherry tomatoes and serve them over sliced fresh mozzarella, a riff on the caprese salad. It makes for a tighter, more acutely flavored version of this classic salad -- more dinner party first course, less lunch out on the deck. —Amanda Hesser
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the garlic cloves. Sprinkle over the olive oil and season with salt.
Roast the tomatoes until they begin to wrinkle and caramelize, and their juices release into the oil, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Cut the mozzarella into 1/8-inch-thick slices and arrange, overlapping slightly, on a platter. Spoon the tomatoes and -- most importantly -- their juices and the oil, over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Drop the basil leaves on top. Gaze proudly at the gorgeous dish you've just assembled.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.