The most correct sun-dried tomatoes are made by drying them in the sun. Ideally, things should happen somewhere in Sicily, the air temperature should be thirty degrees and we will not be disturbed by a light sea breeze. Nevertheless, cooking a winter stock of tomatoes in the oven is not such a futile task.
This is what an authentic way of drying tomatoes looks – they just lay out on Sicilian fields under the bright sun.
Good tomatoes in Russia are a fleeting phenomenon. They can be obtained in late summer and early autumn. It is difficult to come to terms with this tragic injustice. Sun-dried tomatoes brighten up the long months of waiting for a new crop of reds.
Cooking sun-dried tomatoes is a long and meditative process. Tune in to a peaceful mood. In order to get one small, say, a gram for three hundred jars, you have to spend a few hours in the company of tomatoes, which will go to prepare, and then wait eight hours until they are ready. And maybe longer, or maybe a day. This is how lucky. The good news is that tomatoes can be prepared intermittently and continuous monitoring of the process is not required.
In order to make the same three hundred gram jar of dried tomatoes, you need about one and a half kilograms of fresh tomatoes. So calculate your strength!
- 1.5 kg ladies fingers
- Some olive oil
- Salt (preferably sea)
- 1 head garlic
- Dried cilantro (and / or other herbs: basil, oregano)
Do not attempt to wilt any tomatoes. This, inevitably, leads to a fiasco. Use only the ladies’ fingers or those that are called plum-like. A pleasant circumstance – usually they are the cheapest in the store.
This variety of dense and not juicy tomatoes is best succumbed to drying. Somehow we tried to wither the fleshy Azerbaijani tomatoes. They seemed to be solid too, but no. Do not follow this curve path! Two days of drying did not give the desired result – the tomatoes were still raw.
So, let’s get started. We wash the tomatoes and be sure to wipe them.
After that, cut into halves and clean out all the seeds. It is necessary to eliminate all sputum. We need dry tomatoes. Therefore, after the seeds are taken out, you need to dry the tomatoes on all sides with paper.
When this is done, spread the tomatoes with the slice up on a baking sheet covered with foil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Ideally, use a large sea, but the usual one will do. Sprinkle tomatoes with herbs – dried cilantro, oregano, or basil. Squeeze the garlic, or cut it into thin slices. On each half of the tomato you need to put a little garlic. Now is the turn of olive oil. We send one drop to the center of each half. The description of the process seems short, but in fact, all these actions take a lot of time, the longest part of the process is the cleaning of seeds from tomatoes.
Now turn on the oven. We need a temperature of 50-60 degrees. We put the baking sheet in the oven, and leave the door open. The first time that most of the moisture will evaporate, the temperature should remain within these limits. When you see that the tomatoes began to wrinkle (this will happen in 3 hours), the temperature should be reduced to 40-50 degrees. Each batch of tomatoes behaves very individually, so remember – you need to adjust the time and temperature, depending on which tomatoes you come across.
Finally, the tomatoes will be ready no earlier than eight hours later. It may take more time. Ready tomatoes do not have to be completely hard, but remain a little soft in the center. In the process, they acquire a brownish tint.
Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the baking sheet. You can eat them right away, or you can roll them in cans. In this case, they should be properly tamped in the container, so that between the slices there is less space. Pour into the jar to the brim of olive oil and close the lid.