I’ve already eaten masses of small juicy cocktail tomatoes this early summer since the first of them could be found on markets and in supermarkets. I just can’t resist and they enrich about every kind of food: pasta of course, but also pizzas, tartes, omelettes, salads… I love to eat them pure – putting one tomato in my mouth, bite on them and feel it burst in my mouth filling with fresh sweet-sour juice.
Coctail tomatoes have per se a very concentrated flavour, a bit sweeter than big tomatoes. What I did (and of course some people before me) was to concentrate this flavour even more by drying them. Actually I am a bit of obesses with drying vegetable and fruit in various versions at the moment.
I can tell you: they’re lovely. They taste some much better than the ones you can buy: Packed full of tomato-herby-summer-feeling with just the right amount of leftover moisture. And about the only thing you need apart from tomatoes and olive oil is time. But then you don’t even really need time. You just put your baking pan with tomato halfes in the oven and… wait. Of course, they’re not sun but oven dried, but who does believe that tomatoes from the supermarket are really “sun dried”?
What to do with homemade oven dried tomatoes? Are you serious?!
Oven dried cocktail tomatoes (2 jars at 210 ml)
I forgot to watch the exact amounts I used, but they’re depending on your taste anyway. I used about two handful of cocktail tomatoes, that I sprinkled with roughly 1 teaspoon dried thyme and a bit of freshly chopped basil (rosemary or any other herb you favour would be great as well, I’m sure). I added as well two cloves of garlic, cut into slices, and a bit of salt on top. I used about 1/2 litre olive oil.
Wash cocktail tomatoes, pat them dry and half them. Cover bottom of a baking pan (mine is 33×23 cm) or baking tray with olive and lay out tomatoes cut sides up in a single layer. Sprinkle with your chosen herbs, garlic and salt. Preheat oven to 100°C and dry tomatoes. The time for drying can vary from 4 to 12 hours depending on the result of dryness you want to achieve. I left mine in the oven for roughly 8 hours. By then the edges of the tomatoes were shriveled and pieces had shrunken visibly. The flavour had concentrated but the tomatoes were still juicy.
After cooling down, fill tomatoes (plus herbs and garlic) into small jars and fill up with olive oil. To preserve them properly every tomato should be covered with oil.