Tomatoes simply taste best when they are at the peak of ripeness in summer. Juicy and, you know, full of tomato flavor – unlike their siblings from the winter season, which taste watery and bland.
Sun-dried tomatoes are a great way to preserve tasty summer tomatoes. After drying, they can be used any time of the year and will still taste great.
To make sun-dried tomatoes, ripe tomatoes are left in the sun to dry for a few days, where they will lose most of their moisture. Since most people simply don’t have the option to do so (Hello, tiny Boston apartment without garden), or don’t want to wait for so long, you can achieve the same results by drying out the tomatoes in the oven.
I prefer semi-dry tomatoes to fully-dried ones since they are a little softer and moister and therefore a perfect addition to grain salads, pasta, or pizza. Also, they are ready quicker ;-)
Halve the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, herbs, and a dash of olive oil.
Put them in the oven for 2 hours to get rid of most of the moisture. Voilà!
You can use any size – from plum to cherry/grape tomatoes. Just keep in mind, the larger they are, the longer they have to dry in the oven. I made these semi-dried tomatoes with little grape tomatoes and it took 2 hours at 300°F (150°C) until ready.
Semi-Dried Tomatoes (Oven-Dried)
Yield: 1 sheet (9x13inch or 24x32cm) dried grape tomatoes
These oven-dried tomatoes that are ready in 2 hours. You can use any size you want (from plum to cherry/grape) – the larger they are, the longer they will need to dry. I use small grape tomatoes. The dried herbs in the recipe are optional; however, I recommend using them.
Halve tomatoes lengthwise. If using larger tomatoes, cut out the core.
Arrange the halved tomatoes over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut sides up. (Do not use an aluminum baking sheet as the acid in the tomato will react with the metal.)
Brush (or spray) lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, then with the dried herbs.
Preheat oven. Bake for 2 hours at 300°F (150°C), until semi-dried. If I don’t need them right away, I turn off the oven and let the tomatoes sit in the oven to dry in the residual heat for another half hour (depends on how dry they already are).
Store in the fridge for up to a week. (see note)
Store in a jar or container in the fridge for up to a week. Be aware, they still have some moisture inside so they will get moldy when stored longer without submerging them in oil. For longer storage, place them in a jar tightly packed and cover with olive oil. Add a garlic clove and more dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano) if you like.