Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oven dried tomatoes done right...

My neighbor/ fishing buddy/ story teller and friend stopped by the other day and gave me a huge bag full of, what looked like, baby Roma tomatoes fresh from his garden. Coming to the end of the local tomato season, which has been very rainy this year, there are an abundance of hanger-on tomatoes staying on the vines for all to enjoy. Problem with that is, what to do with them all! You can only make so much marinara sauce, right?

I came up with this simple recipe on how to use up some of your tomatoes before you run to the store and buy more canning jars!

These are oven dried tomatoes and are great for salads, making pesto, tossed in pasta or just snacking on.

First, cut the tomatoes in half and toss them in a bowl. Make a simple vinaigrette with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part white balsamic vinegar, a little crushed red pepper flakes, dried thyme, oregano, basil, granulate garlic, onion powder and salt and pepper. Toss everything together well with your hands and let sit for a few minutes to marinate while you wait for your oven to preheat to 300F.

Lay them out cut-side-up on a roasting rack, drizzling any left over marinade over the top and put in the oven until lightly dried out and still a little plump.

This will take 3-5 hours, depending on the size and moisture content of the tomatoes. About 2 hours into the drying process, start taking the smaller ones out of the oven as they became dry and let the larger ones finish up for a little longer. Total time for my tomatoes, just under 3 1/2 hours.

Let them cool completely and store them in an air tight container with a paper towel in the bottom in your fridge for a few days and enjoy.

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