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slow-roasted, sun-dried, or oven dried

This is part 1 of a two-part recipe. Today we are slow-roasting tomatoes. Not quite to the consistency of sun-dried tomatoes, but close. Tomorrow we’ll have part 2 which will use the tomatoes for delectable chicken sandwiches.

Today, I’m actually providing you with three recipes; the first is for the slow-roasted tomatoes we’ll use tomorrow.  Next you’ll find 2 methods to make your own sun-dried tomatoes, just in case you have a load of tomatoes lying about. One for true sun-dried (which unfortunately we can still do here in AZ) and the next for oven-dried tomatoes. Both work beautifully.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

1  1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Use a small paring knife to core the tomatoes. Slice in half vertically and remove the seeds and juices by gently squeezing over a bowl. Strain the tomato liquid and seed through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup, you should have almost 1/2 cup of tomato water. Cover and refrigerate, it will be used for the vinaigrette tomorrow.

Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat or foil. Push them close together and then season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil.

Push the tomatoes apart – do not allow tomatoes to touch one another and slow-roast in the preheated oven for 5 1/2 to 6 hours. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. Either  cover and refrigerate for sandwiches, or enjoy warm as a side dish.

If you would like to be prepared to make the sandwich, you’ll need these items; 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, 1 cup plain yogurt, honey pretzels, 1 lemon, fresh rosemary and thyme, a couple garlic cloves, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, 4 rolls or a baguette, greens of your choice, 2 peaches, 1 English cucumber, 1 cup fresh basil, white wine, 2 or 3 large shallots, olive oil and champagne or white wine vinegar. If that sounds like a lot, it’s for the vinaigrette and 4 sandwiches.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

5 pounds tomatoes (Roma are traditionally used)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (optional)

Use a small paring knife to core the tomatoes. Slice in half vertically and remove the seeds and juices by gently squeezing over a bowl.

Place tomatoes on a raised screen, do not allow tomatoes to touch one another. I use a large round metal splatter screen used for frying bacon or a cooling rack and place that on a rimmed baking sheet to “raise it up”. Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.

Cover with cheesecloth, raised so it does not touch the tomatoes. To achieve this, I strategically set several plastic cups around the baking sheet, drape with the cheesecloth and then use clips to secure the cloth to the rim of the baking sheet, all around. The cloth keeps critters out while still providing the needed ventilation. Place the whole set-up in the hot sun until dry. Depending on the tomatoes and the weather in your area, this could take from 3 to10 days. In the middle of our Arizona summers, 3 days will do it. If you live in an area where there is the possibility of dew overnight, bring the tray inside each evening and set out again in the morning. (This is another reason they dry so quickly here – what the heck is dew!?!)

Check the tomatoes from time to time, they should remain rather flexible, not brittle. Once dried, transfer the tomatoes to zip-lock bags and freeze or store in jars with the tomatoes completely covered with olive oil and refrigerate. Or do half and half mix; place half in a jar and the rest in the zip-lock. Then when the portion in the jar is used up, replace with the remaining portion from the freezer.

Yield – about 2 cups

Oven-Dried “Sun-Dried” Tomatoes

5 pounds tomatoes (Roma are traditionally used)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Use a small paring knife to core the tomatoes. Slice in half vertically and remove the seeds and juices by gently squeezing over a bowl.

Place tomatoes on a raised screen, do not allow tomatoes to touch one another. I use a large round metal splatter screen used for frying bacon or a cooling rack and place that on a rimmed baking sheet to “raise it up”. Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.

Place in the oven and bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and feel dry, anywhere from 9 to 12 hours, depending on the tomatoes. Check the tomatoes after the 7 hour point, from time to time: They should remain rather flexible, not brittle. Once dried, remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to thoroughly cool before storing. Store the same as the Sun-Dried Tomatoes above.

Yield – about 2 cups


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2 comments

1 part 2 — Les Petites Gourmettes { 10.03.10 at 2:46 PM }

[…] Water-Basil Vinaigrette 1/2 cup tomato water (Click here) 1/2 cup packed basil leaves 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced 3/4 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup sliced […]

2 Marissa { 10.04.10 at 10:21 AM }

They make the house smell yummy too!

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