Sunday, 8 September 2013

Dried Tomatoes

A different topic to normal in this weeks blog.

On my Daily journal I have posted some pictures of some tomatoes I have been drying and a couple of people have asked about the recipe so I decided to post it here.

It really couldn't be more simple, just get as many tomatoes you want to use, the first time I did this I only used about 2 kgs of tomatoes, the second time I got as many tomatoes as possible onto 3 shelves in the oven as the processes takes just as long for a small amount as for a large amount.

I have used quite big tomatoes as they do shrink in the drying, I guess smaller tomatoes would work just as well and would take less time.

Cut the tomatoes in half and put a generous pinch of salt and sugar in equal proportions onto each half. (i just mix the sugar and salt 50/50 in a small bowl beforehand)  The recipe I started with said to leave the tomatoes cut side down on a wire rack for an hour to drain but not much juice drained out so I now skip this step.

Put the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray or oven shelf and sprinkle with a chopped up mixture of your your favorite fresh herbs, I use basil, thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf. Season with some fresh black pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Put in the oven at about 85 - 90C for 4 hours or so. Normally I start this in the evening and after the 4 hours just turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes in the warm oven overnight. 

In the morning the tomatoes are cool and I gently squeeze them over a bowl to get some of the liquid out of them. (sometimes you have to stab through the cut side with a knife to let the juice squeeze out) to Keep the liquid as you can use it as a base for pasta sauce.

Put the oven back on and continue to dry the tomatoes for another 2 or 3 hours. Just keep going until you reach the stage of dryness you like.

I like them still moist, but you can continue until they are really quite dry.

Pack the tomatoes into a kilner type jar while still warm ( I also warm the jars) and fill the jar with olive oil until the tomatoes are completely covered.

Use in any recipe that uses dried tomatoes or add to any tomato sauce for an intense tomato flavor.

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