Tomato Heaven (In The Name of Youth)

oventomatoes1Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes – how versatile and young they are, full of lycopene (a substance which devours 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than Vitamin E -a good thing!) and Vitamin C. These are so easy, and incredibly delicious.

Oven dried cherry tomatoes

You will need:

2 or 3 packs of cherry tomatoes
Sea salt
Oregano
Sunflower or light olive oil
Baking tray
Wire rack

Cut tomatoes in half and place as close together as possible on the rack until it is filled. Sprinkle with sea salt and oregano. Place in very low oven – 110-120 degrees C (230-248 degrees F) for around 3 hours. During this time check occasionally – if necessary move the inside tomatoes to the outside and vice versa. Return to oven. At this stage, even though the heat is low, it is wise to check them every 15 minutes or so. You are looking for them to be mostly dried but to retain a small degree of squidgyness in the centre. During the drying process you will find that some are ready before others – remove these to a separate bowl and reserve until they are all done.

The cooked tomatoes should look like this, a bit soft
The cooked tomatoes should look like this, a bit soft

Clean and sterilise a jar – I find this quantity of tomatoes fits nicely into a honey jar. When all the tomatoes are done pack them tightly into the jar and then top it up with the oil. Turn the jar gently to try to remove air pockets and keep filling slowly with oil until it reaches the rim and all the tomatoes are covered. Seal with lid. These can be eaten immediately or will keep for about 4 weeks (keep them in the fridge once opened). Use them as a side dish, in salads, with roasted vegetables, on sandwiches. They add a richness of flavour to absolutely anything! When you’ve eaten all the delicious, flavourful tomatoes you will be left with a beautifully flavoured oil which can be used for salad dressings, marinades and stir fries.

Recipe and photographs courtesy of Penelope Bates

Or use some oven-dried cherry tomatoes in this delicious (young) pate:

Whizz together in a food processor, mill or blender equal amounts of oven-dried (or sun-dried) tomatoes and pine nuts. Add a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice to taste. Enjoy!!

The finished product should look like this!
The finished product should look like this!
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