Sun dried tomatoes, well maybe not sun dried but air dried certainly are delicious. My new food dehydrator is getting a lot of use these days. When I decided to buy one, one of my first thoughts was homemade sun dried tomatoes. I’m not the biggest fan of fresh tomatoes but let them be dried into little intensely flavored chewy nuggets and I’ll eat a giant bowl of them! They are perfect for a snack on a late afternoon (even better with a glass on wine in hand), cut up finely in a salad they almost give off bacon-esque flavor, or layered on a piece of chicken with some melted sharp pecorino or fontina cheese. Their deep almost umami flavor enhances so many meals. Though, now that I know what it takes to make them I’m pretty intent to keep them to myself. So maybe they’ll all just be for snacking purposes. That is at least until I make another batch.
Making these sun dried tomatoes is pretty simple. I can’t wait for tomatoes to be in season again at the farmer’s market as I can only imagine how delicious those fruits will be. But for now, I used about three dozen Roma tomatoes from Costco. While not a purveyor of local products, Costco does give the availability of reasonably priced produce in bulk format. In searching recipes across the web, I found several that suggested rubbing herbs over the fresh tomatoes before dehydrating. What an amazing idea! I first halved the tomatoes and then deseeded them. Then, I rubbed each tomato half with the Italian Herb Mix from Penzeys and some flaky sea salt. The tomatoes then went into the dehydrator for approximately 8-12 hours. It’s a rough estimate as some smaller halves were ready before larger juicer ones. I flipped the tomatoes about every four hours to make sure they dried evenly. When the smaller halves were ready, I pulled them out and placed them in a jar filled with olive oil. Under oil these sun dried tomatoes should last several weeks-if you can resist eating them all!