Oven-dried Tomatoes

This is one of the first recipes I learned to make in Cordon Bleu as part of our Food Preservation workshops. A jar of semi-dried tomatoes were always a staple in my fridge so I was pleasantly surprised to learn how to make these myself. It is so simple and creates a delicious and rewarding result.

There are many different variations that you can make depending on your preference for taste and texture. This recipe is a basic guideline to follow as a base recipe but you can add your own twists by introducing a few types of herbs. I generally remove the seeds to reduce the water content and add rosemary and thyme for a warming aroma.

Ingredients:

1kg tomatoes on the vine

3 large or 4 small garlic cloves (whole or sliced)

3-4 sprigs of thyme

1 handful of chopped basil leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & pepper

Utensils:

Pot of boiling water

Bowl of ice cold water

Chopping board

Small knife

Baking tray lined with baking paper

Sterilised jar

Method:

Preheat oven to 90 degrees celcius

Remove green core from top of tomatoes and gently slice an x shape through the skin in the bottom, this will help this skin come off easily after blanching.

Blanch the tomatoes in the pot of boiling water for a few seconds until the skin starts to lift and peel. Be careful not to leave the boiling water for too long as they will begin to cook so best to do this in small batches.

Once blanched, drop the tomatoes into a bowl of ice cold water.

Peel the skin from the tomatoes, cut into quarters and carefully remove the seeds. It is okay to remove a thin layer of the flesh on the inside as this will allow the tomatoes get as dry as possible.

Arrange the tomatoes on a baking tray and decorate with garlic, thyme and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook in the preheated oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the desired texture.

Once dried and cooled place in a sterilised jar and coat with olive oil to preserve before storing in the fridge.

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