Sweet Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
If you want to skip the canning procedure, brine the tomatoes in a nonreactive stockpot, cool, transfer to a container, and store in the refrigerator, tightly covered. They'll keep in the refrigerator for up to several months. (You can also purchase sweet pickled cherry tomatoes from pickleguys.com.) Read more about Paul Virant and his restaurants in Relish the Season.
Set five uncovered pint jars on a rack in a large canning pot with water to cover the jars by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and then let simmer while preparing the tomatoes and spices. Meanwhile soak the lids in a pan of hot water to soften the rubber seal.
Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot to make the brine solution. While this is boiling, in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the dill seeds and peppercorns.
Remove the hot jars from the canning pot and place on the counter. Divide the spices among the jars, using about 1 1/2 teaspoons per jar, then add 2 sprigs of dill and 1 garlic clove to each jar. Pack the tomatoes evenly among the jars.
Transfer the brine to a heatproof pitcher and pour over the tomatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch space from the rim of the jar. Check the jars for air pockets, adding more brine if necessary to fill in gaps. Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids, then screw on the bands until snug but not tight.
Place the jars in the pot with the rack, and add enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, and process the jars for 15 minutes (start the timer when the water reaches a boil). Turn off the heat, and leave the jars in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water, and let cool completely.
Recipe by Paul Virant
Photography by Brendan Lekan