Semi-dried cherry tomatoes in olive oil: anyone can make a great preserve!

If you’ve got a glut of tomatoes, or if you just want a different flavour in your salads, semi-dried tomatoes is the way to go. Fabulous with buffalo mozzarella and basil, drizzled with very good EVOO, their flavour pierces the creaminess and compliments the astringent herb. Semi-dried cherry tomatoes are a great addition to the dreaded couscous, they really liven it up, and the same for bulgar and rice salads.

Sterilising your kit

I do this recipe one jar at a time, and I don’t bother with sterilising my jar etc. I know that the whole lot will be eaten quickly enough for it not to matter.

If you do have a glut, and you want to make lots of jars – great presents, really attractive – you should probably adhere to the rule of drying them (empty) in an oven (on a tray) at about 100*C for (I don’t know) so long. You can seal them for extra caution with a jam jar plastic cap, but they’re safest in a jar with a screw top or a Mason.

I don’t grow tomatoes, but I bought two lots of not brilliant cherry tomatoes, so turned one of them into this delectable treat. Vine tomatoes are nicer, but this method makes the paler, ordinary tomatoes taste better, so I use them.

I’m not going to show you the tray of 275g halved cherry tomatoes, each of them skin-side-down. I don’t need to, right? Scatter some salt on them and stick the tray in the oven.

Oven temperature a bit hit-and-miss

I have done this recipe for years, but it’s still in the trial-and-error period. Everyone’s oven is different, and here it’s important to remember that you want to dry the tomatoes, not roast them. My new oven is like some kind of sun monster, and since I hadn’t made these in it before, I went for the lowest setting: 60*C. However, the skins are a bit thicker than I like this time, so next time I’ll try for 70.

I left them in the oven for about 5 hours, which will also have contributed to the skin thickness.

When you get them out of the oven and you’re happy with their texture and flavour, drop them into a jar and cover with EVOO. I added some pickled garlic and fresh basil leaves to the concoction. Semi dried tomatoes

Pretty, right? Semi-dried cherry tomatoes are squashy little bursts of flavour in your mouth. This is a simple recipe that bears much fruit! Eat them with cold meats, in sandwiches, on crackers with cheese, with olives and garlic … Ask me why I like them …

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