I’m glad we never booked a holiday for this Summer, it’s so rare we get heat like this that it would be such a shame to miss it. I’m taking full advantage of this heatwave and using the first of the seasons tomatoes in glorious sun dried fashion.
Now, I say dried but these are more sun blushed tomatoes. The type that you buy in the supermarket, kept in oil or from the deli. They’re so simple to make with a throw together marinade and they’re a great way to cling on to the best of Summers produce.
It’s not very often we could sun dry anything in the UK so I’m getting stuck in.
As I mentioned in my Blackened Salsa post, it’s important to buy the best quality tomatoes you can find. We want these to be super tasty! If I may say so myself, this marinade is absolutely spot on. They taste exactly like my favourite deli tomatoes. Drool…
To make your own sunblush tomatoes, you’ll need:500g tomatoes, quartered 2 tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil (or add 1/4 tsp dried garlic to plain) 1 teaspoon of dried thyme 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Begin by tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Remove the tomatoes, discarding any oil left in the bottom.
Ideally, lay out a cooling rack in a large ceramic or stoneware baking dish, place the tomatoes on top and cover with cling film. Make a small hole with a knife every 2cm. The rack gives room for your tomatoes to breathe and air to circulate, helping them dry evenly. The cling film keeps bugs at bay and the tiny holes let out any evaporated moisture.
Pop them out in direct sunlight on a hot day. Anything 23 or over should be fine in the UK. Now go and put your feet up or get on with your jobs.
The change won’t happen quickly, this is quite a lengthy process (two hot days) but little fuss is needed. It’s quite interesting to see the plain tomato transformed in to it’s sweeter, tastier, sun dried alter ego. Here’s 3 hours in. You can just start to see some signs of drying.
Obviously how long they need depends on the size of tomato and the strength of the sun that day. If you think they’re going to take longer than two days, you’ll be best off finishing them in the oven (instructions below). If they take too long to dry, you start getting in to potential nasties territory so don’t attempt to dry them outside if we aren’t in full swing heat wave.
If the sun isn’t doing it’s thing you can finish them off in an oven or just cheat all together. To be a sneaky cheater, preheat your oven to 180 degrees, lay them on a rack in a stoneware dish and pop them in the oven, turning it off as soon as you put them in. You’re still looking at around 8 hours that way but any quicker and you’d end up with tomato leather.
You keep these in the fridge for 5 days or freeze them for future use. I’m sure there’s a way to preserve them in oil in the cupboard but I’m not clued up enough on that to advise you. If you know more about it, please do leave a comment and I’ll update the post.
Serving suggestionsA great addition to salads Use to make Spanish stuffed roast chicken Try adding to spaggetti olio or other pasta dishes Add to risottos Stuff in to a chicken breast with some mozzarella, wrap with parma ham & bake Whizz in the blender to make a sun dried tomato spread, layer in sandwiches or on bruschetta Blend with chickpeas & a little more garlic oil for sun dried tomato hummus. Mix with cubes of feta for an easy side