Home made Herbed Semi-Dried Tomatoes
I have always enjoyed the Herbed Semi-Dried Tomatoes available from the Deli section of Woolworths but I figured it was about time to start making my own since they would most likely taste better and be a hell of a lot cheaper. Recently, for some unknown reason (most likely massive overstockage), Woolworths was selling beautiful vine-ripened trussed tomatoes for AU$3 a kilo (normally around 8 dollars a kilo). My chance had come!
Made them last night, with no specific recipe in mind, only that they had to have a) tomatoes b) olive oil c) garlic d) herbs. They turned out abosolutely unbelievable, far exceeded my expectations. I figured why not share the fun. No real measurements, I just started grabbing stuff but remember everything is to your own taste.
20-25 tomatoes (I can't remember :))
6 cloves garlic, crushed
fresh basil, finely chopped, to taste (I used about 20, but who remembers?)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed, finely chopped
extra-virgin olive oil (peppery one if possible), you will have to use your own judgement here, I certainly came no where near covering the tomatoes, but there was a fair amount sitting under them
Preheat oven to 125'C. Smear some oil on the bottom of a ceramic or metal roasting tray big enough to contain all the tomato halves in a single layer.
Halve the tomatoes, or if you feel that the halves are too big quarter them. I ripped out the harder central bit with my hands, and as a consequence most of the seeds, but to each his own. Lay the tomatoes skin side down in the pan/dish.
Combine your crushed garlic and finely chopped herbs in a dish and put as much oil as you deem necessary. Spoon this mixture over the tomatoes trying to make sure each tomato piece gets a bit of flavour onto it (I had enough herbs/garlic to put a fair bit on each tomato). Drizzle a bit more oil over the tomatoes and whack in the oven.
Cook until the desired shrinkage has occured. I took mine out when they were looking a little dry on top (at least 2 1/2 hours - 3 hours), but still succulent and juicy underneath. Let them cool down a bit. Then put them in an airtight container just big enough to hold them then cover them with all the oil and other flavours that are in the bottom of the dish.
If yours turn out as good as mine did (my directions are always shady, I never measure ingredients and that, my apologies :)) you will be laughing every time you walk past your Deli section next :).