Friday, 10 December 2010

Not so sunny 'oven-dried' tomatoes

There's not much finer than a platter of antipasti made up with cold Italian meats, roasted peppers, artichokes, char-grilled aubergines, olives, sun dried tomatoes and, of course, a large glass of red. However, although most people I know would also love this, there isn't that much effort involved, is there? Just open a few jars and packets, spread the contents out on a platter and serve. No real WOW factor there. So my mission is to get to make some of these classics from scratch. Char-grilled aubergines and roasted peppers have been done. Next on the list is sun-dried tomatoes.

Now, it's winter. It's bitterly cold, windy, snowy and icy. The sun creeps out from the comfort of the clouds for approximately 6 hours a day. And even then it's still +5C at the most. Not that our summers are much to shout about. On the med, we are not, and therefore homemade sun-dried tomatoes are a no-no. However, oven-dried tomatoes are a yes-yes. And this is great news.

I based my method on a recipe from a magazine. I can't remember which magazine or even when I'd read it. But essentially I got some tomatoes, quartered them, tossed them in olive oil, chopped fresh sage, dried basil (the recipe called for fresh thyme, but I didn't have that fresh or dried), chopped garlic (3 cloves) and salt & pepper. I then placed them in a glass roasting dish and left in the oven at 50C for about 28 hours. Seriously.  28 hours. I do hope they are worth it!

So once they were done, or rather once I needed the oven for something other than some wrinkling tomatoes, I let them cool, placed in a jar and covered with olive oil. I need to get some more garlic and stick that in too. Maybe I'll stick in some chili and bay leaves too. I'm not serving them until next week, so I will have a think. I did try a couple as they were cooking and they were pretty good. No doubt the time spent in the jar infusing with all the garlic and herbs will help them along further.

They look alright if nothing else!

As for how they taste, I'll let you know next week!

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