You will never want to go out and buy a jar of flavorless sun dried tomatoes again. I promise.
I love tomatoes. Usually though, I prefer them raw in salads and uncooked. The only exceptions I make to this rule are for sun dried tomatoes – but I am finicky about these too. I hate buying them in jars.
There were lovely ripe tomatoes at the vegetable market the other day. While I was walking around figuring out what all I needed to buy, this particular ‘sabziwala’ insisted that I purchase nothing but tomatoes from him. Indeed, he insisted in a way that I couldn’t get away even if I wanted to! These are ‘desi tamatar,’ he said, full of flavor. You come right back and return these if you don’t like them. Well, needless to say, I certainly didn’t have to return these babies! They were delicious and I even went back and bought another kg the next day.
At first I was toying with the idea of making a tomato tart or tomato jam. But then I realized that I didn’t want to pair it with anything and wanted the tomatoes only for themselves – something that would enhance their flavor. I have attempted sun dried tomatoes earlier and they didn’t work out very well due to the humid weather. So this time around I made oven dried ones. And then I made another batch. And so on the whole weekend long. I am now addicted. I snack on them just by themselves, I have eaten them on a sandwich and tossed them with spaghetti aglio olio. Now I am looking forward to trying out sun dried tomato butter!
You HAVE to try these out. Period.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
1 kg fresh tomatoes (halved or sliced)
2 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp ground pepper
1 ½ tsp garlic sea salt (add more according to taste)
- If you are using small tomatoes, halve them. Slice into four if you are using large ones. Scoop out the seeds (don’t throw them away – reuse in a chutney). Place the slices skin side up on some newspaper layered with paper napkins for 20 minutes. This will get rid of the excess moisture.
- Put the olive oil in a large bowl and add the garlic, basil, pepper and salt. Let this sit for 10 minutes so that the flavors are infused.
- Add the tomatoes to the bowl and toss them well so that they are well coated with the oil mix.
- Preheat the oven to 80 C/ gas mark 1/ 175 F or the lowest temperature possible.
- Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes skin side up and sprinkle the remaining garlic pieces from the bowl on top.
- Bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours. My tomatoes were not completely crispy and still had the teeniest amount of moisture in them. The edges turned black as well. But that is how I like them. Increase or decrease your baking time according to your taste. Some oven dried tomatoes are baked for upto 6 hours.
- Let them cool on a wire rack. Put them in a jar and top with olive oil. This will stay for months.