5 must-try cherry tomato canapé recipes

by Great British Chefs 24 November 2021

In need of some canapé inspiration before the festive hosting season begins? These are five of our favourite canapés centred around the humble cherry tomato.

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It’s that time of year once again where hosting goes into overdrive and even more culinary inspiration is needed than normal. And there’s no better way to impress your guests at a festive dinner or drinks party than by laying on an array of beautiful canapés. If you’re wanting to create your dainty bites from an easy-to-find, every day ingredient, you need look no further than the cherry tomato.

Vibrant in colour, rich in flavour and hugely versatile in terms of how you can use them, cherry tomatoes are the ultimate fruit to centre your festive morsels around. Whether cooked down into a paste, dried out in the oven or kept whole in all their glory, it’s a given that any canapé involving tomatoes is going to prove popular, but the particularly concentrated flavour of a cherry tomato is unbeatable. What’s more, the options are endless as to the flavours they combine with, meaning things can be kept traditional by pairing the cherry tomatoes with something like basil, or you can try something a little more out-there altogether. These are five of our favourite cherry tomato canapés that are sure to go down well this festive season.

Polenta tartlets with Piccolo tomato, goat's cheese and chives

Small but packed full of flavour, Piccolo cherry tomatoes sit at the heart of this canapé from Danny Kingston. By briefly steeping the tomatoes in boiling water and then removing the skin, you’re left with just the rich centre, which is then chopped down and cooked with Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. This gives the tartlet filling a Blood Mary-esque flavour that’s bound to go down a treat. Paired with the slight sharpness of the Parmesan and polenta pastry and finished with both fresh chives and tangy goat’s cheese, this is a mouthful that has it all.

Iced vodka gazpacho

Vodka and cherry tomatoes might not be a pairing that many people are familiar with but this unusual canapé-cum-palate cleanser from Marcello Tully proves that it works. Taking everything you thought you knew about a gazpacho and turning it on its head, this iced vodka-infused take on the Spanish classic comes disguised as a spirit, served in shot glasses. Yet to taste, it’s still rich with cherry tomatoes and red pepper while the vodka cuts through the freshness. It may require an element of pre-planning, with the liquid having to seep through a muslin cloth overnight, but this is a canapé that’s sure to get people talking.

Balsamic tomato and pesto canapés

As with any ingredient, there are certain combinations which are foolproof when cooking with cherry tomatoes. Basil and balsamic are two of them and in this canapé recipe, Jacqueline Meldrum combines them both into one delicious mouthful. Recreating the flavours of the Mediterranean, the cherry tomatoes are kept whole and fried until they start to crack and caramelise in the balsamic vinegar, while the puff pastry cases are covered in basil-rich pesto for further freshness. Each bite therefore has a burst of cherry tomato, the crunch of cashew nuts in the pesto and the crispiness of pastry to finish. This canapé is also plant-based, meaning it’s a great one to quickly rustle up when entertaining vegan guests.

Piccolo tomatoes stuffed with tapioca and black garlic

For a canapé that’s both incredibly striking to look at and bold in its flavours, these tapioca-filled Piccolo tomatoes served with black olive sauce and powder from Pascal Aussignac are on the money. He uses the rich umami of olives, black garlic and anchovies to offset the sweetness of the tomatoes, while the addition of tapioca pearls adds further texture. The black olive powder may seem like an intimidating element, but all it actually requires is a microwave and a blender, and is sure to impress.

Tomato, olive tapenade and rosemary canapés

Sometimes the most stressful part about hosting is having to finish cooking things last minute – but with these cherry tomato, olive tapenade and rosemary canapés, you won’t have that problem. Every element can be made in advance, so all you need to do before serving is quickly assemble them. By drying the tomatoes in the oven you’re intensifying their fantastic sweetness, which works brilliantly with the creamy olive mascarpone. It may seem like a bit of added effort making your own crackers but it’s well worth it to get that strong taste of rosemary running through them.