A few year back, Edible Chicago (one of my favorite foodie magazines) had a recipe for oven dried tomatoes. They recommended using a meaty tomato, such as the Roma variety. The method was simple: cut the tomatoes in quarters, toss with olive oil, salt and herbs, then roast in a low oven until they resemble a sun-dried tomato.
That year, we had only planted cherry and pear tomatoes, but I was pretty sure the recipe would work for them as well. When our plants started to produce more than we could possibly eat, I halved the small tomatoes and cooked them in a 200 degree oven for about 5 hours. The resulting oven-dried tomatoes were sweet and delicious.
Once dried, the tomatoes can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week or covered with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and frozen. When this year's beautiful plants (purchased at Chicago's Green City Market) produced a bumper crop of pear and yellow grape tomatoes, I remembered that recipe and dried two sheet pans of tomatoes in my oven.
Yesterday afternoon, I could not stop snacking on these delicious little treats. I used about half of them to make a Tomato and Goat Cheese Galette for a kindergarten mom cocktail party. The rest will be a lovely addition to a frittata or a simple salad. Try this simple recipe as an easy way to create something unexpected from your garden's bounty.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
- Grape, cherry, pear or other small tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Preheat oven to 200.
Rinse and dry tomatoes. Halve. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat lightly (a tablespoon or two should do it). Sprinkle with salt and toss again. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt for about 8 cups of tomatoes. If you are using the tomatoes in a recipe, you can add more salt and adjust your seasonings at that time.
Spread tomatoes into a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. I used two pans for about 8 cups of tomatoes. Bake for a total of 4-6 hours. After the first three hours, check every hour or so. At hour 4, I increased the heat to 225. They were done after one more hour (total of 5 hours). My tomatoes were not completely dried out but they were soft and a bit chewy. Store in refrigerator. Yield: about 3 1/2 cups
Coming soon: the recipe for the Tomato Galette with Cornmeal Crust