oven-dried-tomatoes-in-oil-theo-michaels

Oven Dried Tomatoes – made at home and stored in olive oil

Oven Dried Tomatoes – Made at Home and Stored in Olive Oil

big-red-tomatoes-oven-dried-tomatoes

Oven dried tomatoes really do get better with age (well a day or two anyway).

I store my oven dried tomatoes in olive oil for a couple of days to help enhance their flavour, softening it a little as they become even more sweeter, tomato-y and scrumptious.

I never thought I’d write the word scrumptious…

If you are lucky enough to spot a bunch of gorgeous tomatoes and find that you’ve been slightly over-zealous in your purchase (I bought two boxes…) or you’ve a glut of toms from growing your own; this recipe is for you.

Want another awesome tomato recipe?

The thing is, oven dried tomatoes just look and taste so damn good! But I definitely recommend you let them steep in good quality of olive oil for a couple of days to really enjoy them.

There are a lot of variations when it comes to making your own oven dried tomatoes; some will salt and let them rest for an hour, others remove the seeds, some cook low for 8 hours, other fast on a high heat.

When it comes to something as rustic and nostalgic as oven dried tomatoes I tend to head towards the route of simplicity. The method that I think is most authentic to what a grandma in a small village would make.

Thus I don’t think grandma would remove seeds and everything else. I don’t think she would do much more than stick them in the sunshine with some choice olive oil and herbs.

I may be wrong, very wrong. But it feels right. And if it feels right how wrong can it be? Said the priest to the actress… 🙂

On that note (not the priest and actress – the grandma keeping things simple) I’ve gone for the simplest route that works for me and always creates delicious oven dried tomatoes that I pop into a jar of olive oil and devour on pretty much an hourly basis until they are gone.

And then I make some more.

I’ve tried putting them in extra virgin olive oil but find the strong flavour of extra virgin can sometimes over-power the tomatoes, best option is for a regular olive oil.

Another tip; if you see tomatoes in the ‘reduced’ section of the supermarket (apologies to Julie for stalking you around the supermarket whilst you reduced all the items); they usually make the best oven dried tomatoes.

You don’t want bruised or moldy or gone-bad tomatoes that are soft; but you do want ripe.

Ripe teetering on the edge of bad.

They are perfect; sweet, bright red and looking to fulfill their raison d’etre of being devoured with the respect and enjoyment they deserve. I usually opt for plum tomatoes but any will do (but the sweeter the better). Here’s how…

Oven Dried Tomatoes Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 kg tomatoes

Pinch Sugar

2 tbl Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 tsp Salt

Dried oregano

1-to-2 cups olive oil (not extra virgin)

Method:

  1. Slice the tomatoes about a cm thick and lay out on a wire rack above a roasting tray.
  2. Dress the cut tomatoes with a scattering of dried oregano and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  3. Place the dressed tomatoes into a preheated oven at 120c for about 2 hours (depending on the thickness of your tomatoes, oven, etc. this time may vary, it doesn’t matter. Check the tomatoes after an hour and every half hour from there until they look dried and beautiful).
  4. Once done, let them cool and decant into a jar of olive oil (I tend to use a mixture of extra virgin and regular olive oil and I usually add a sneaky pinch of sugar to the oil as well).
  5. Leave for a day or two to soften in the olive oil and then devour at your will!

Tip: you can add to the jar a clove of garlic, chilli or even some more herbs for added flavour combinations – but just on their own they are delicious.

Goes great slathered on toast straight out of the jar, thrown into pasta or even as the base of a lush salad!