In the summertime, great masses of cherry tomatoes grow in pots on the sunny patio near the garden shed — we call them “snacks on a tree” because the plants grow so large, and the tiny tomatoes are so very sweet and tasty when you’re hot and thirsty and hungry as a bear!

In wintertime, however, tomatoes and other warm-weather fruits and vegetable that can’t be stored successfully (unlike turnips and carrots, for example, which store very well in a cold cellar) have to be imported to Atlantic Canada. That’s environmentally unfriendly, it’s expensive, and the taste of long-distance tomatoes will never match up to the sweet goodness of sun-ripened cherry tomatoes straight from the vine…

Still, I like to make this recipe as a special treat, just once or twice through the darkest days of winter, as a reminder that glorious Summer is alive and well somewhere in the world!

Cherry Tomato Surprise Meatballs

1 beaten egg
½ cup milk
¾ cup soft bread crumbs (about 1 slice of bread)
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed dried oregano
pepper to taste
1 lb lean ground beef
12 cherry tomatoes

Beat together the egg and milk, then stir in bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, oregano, and pepper. Add the ground beef and mix it well with your hands.

Shape about ¼ cup of this meat mixture around each cherry tomato to form 12 large meatballs. Place in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and bake at 875°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

This recipe serves 3 or 4 people — these are big boys, not your ordinary dainty little cocktail meatballs!

Find more of my favourite recipes here!

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