I created this compote to use on Grilled Swordfish, but you can use it with all kinds of things - atop grilled bread or pizza, with eggs or pasta, whatever you like. Make it ahead and keep it in a glass jar for up to five or six days.

Usually when I roast cherry or grape tomatoes, I cut them in half and spread them on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. But for this recipe, I use baking dishes – preferably Pyrex or ceramic, not enameled cast-iron. Any sizes will do as long as you can spread the tomatoes out in one layer. I wind up using one two-quart and one three-quart Pyrex baking dishes.

The reason I use a baking dish with sides here is that it will trap some of the moisture in the tomatoes while caramelizing them at the same time. This keeps the tomatoes a bit moister than they would be if spread on a sheet pan. You’re looking for a balance between roasty flavor (the more tomato juices reduce, the tastier they are) and some moist texture.

Makes about 2 cups

  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1½ pounds large grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  •  1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, divided
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon sugar
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  •  1½ tablespoons orange juice
  •  2 tablespoons small basil leaves or 2 teaspoons roughly chopped basil (preferably lemon or Thai, but any basil will do; substitute another tender herb if you like)


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Have ready two glass or ceramic baking dishes – one two-quart (7 by 11 inches) and one three-quart (9 by 13 inches) Pyrex is perfect. Pour the oil into the baking dishes, distributing evenly. Add the tomatoes, half of the balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and sugar. Toss gently, then spread out facing up.

2. Roast for 30 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, gently scrape around the edges of the baking dish, pushing the tomatoes at the edges a bit toward the center to prevent burning. Continue cooking for about another 10 minutes, or until all the tomatoes are collapsed, shrunken, and brown on the bottoms. Remove the baking dish from the oven, gently scrape again with a silicone spatula, and let the tomatoes cool in the baking dish for 15 minutes or so.

3. Transfer the tomatoes and any remaining oil in the baking dish to a small mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon balsamic, ginger, and orange juice. Stir together gently and let rest for a few minutes for flavors to mingle. Fold in the chopped herbs or herb leaves. Taste and, if you like, add a bit more salt and/or a small amount of balsamic. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate up
to a day ahead.