I have a love-hate relationship with summer.
On one hand I enjoy wearing summer dresses, walking barefoot (I hate shoes), and early summer camping .... oh, wait, I enjoy late summer camping as well - as long as there are not too many people.
On the other hand, I dislike the heat, the humidity, and mosquitos (they are always after me). I also tend to lose my appetite in hot weather so throughout the months of June, July, and most of August I eat tons of salads.
This year I am trying to make my salads more exciting by adding flavorful ingredients and mixing new dressings. Oven-dried tomatoes make any simple salad exciting. They are also great in sandwiches, on pasta, or just on their own. Make a big batch 'cause they tend to disappear fast ;)
There is no "correct" way of making oven-dried tomatoes. A simple Google search will reveal tons of recipes, so read through a couple or choose one as a guideline and experiment!
What you need:
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
3-4 springs of thyme or a small bunch of basil (or use both) minced. Plus another couple of branches, whole
about 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
fresh ground pepper
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350F (175 C)
- To begin with, you will need to peel the tomatoes.
- Bring a big pot of water to boil. Meanwhile make an "x" cut on the top of tomatoes
- Immerse tomatoes in boiling water for less than a minute. You do not want them to cook. If you are doing it right, you'll notice the skin slightly peeling off next to the x-cut.
- Put tomatoes in a bowl with icy-cold water (to stop cooking process) and then peel off the skin.
- Cut tomatoes in 6 or 8 and remove seeds.
- Toss tomatoes with oil, salt, sugar, pepper, minced herbs, and crushed garlic.
- Add sugar and salt gradually, starting with 1/2 of teaspoon - depending on the sweetness of tomatoes and your personal taste you might need less (or more) seasoning.
- Don't hesitate to taste and adjust the flavoring.
- You can use these marinated raw tomatoes or go ahead and roast/dry them.
- Arrange tomatoe-herb-garlic "mix" on a baking sheet. If tomatoes gave a lot of juice, leave it out. Add thyme/basilic springs and roast for an hour or so.
- Alternatively, you can dry tomatoes at lower temperature for 3-4 hours or even overnight. It will depend on the juiciness of the fruit and your oven settings.
- Slow-roasted tomatoes have deeper flavor, but believe me, the fast-roasted are delicious as well.
- Once tomatoes are "dry enough" (anywhere from lightly shriveled to light brown), remove the sheet from the oven and let it cool down completely.
- Store tomatoes (without garlic) in jars filled with olive oil, in a fridge. Drier tomatoes will last longer, juicier ones should be consumed within a week or two.
Tips and Suggestions:
This is a great way to save extra tomatoes or to use those that are not very sweet/ripe.