Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oven-Dried Tomatoes and My First Pizza in Paris

I'll be perfectly honest... I've seen so many recent blog posts for oven-dried tomatoes that I was hesitating to post this... but ultimately, I figured I should. I mean, I did mention them in my last post. I'll try to make it interesting...
With the heat of summer comes the plentiful bounty of the ever delicious tomato. I would have to say that tomatoes are near the top of my list of favorite foods... in a salad, oven-roasted, in salsa, for sauces, or just plain off the vine... I love them any way they come. One of the things I'm really missing at the moment is my little urban vegetable garden that I had back in Atlanta. My tomato plants grew like wildfire during this part of the year, yet, I never could seem to get enough. I made a rockin' marinara sauce with them(which I'll post one day) and since then vowed never to buy canned spaghetti sauce again.

Luckily, tomatoes are just as bountiful here as they were in my garden... and so many more varieties than I'm used to. La Grande Epicerie has a fairly small, but beautiful selection of heirloom and zebra tomatoes, which I have yet to play with... and the markets and local grocery stores always have a big selection of the usual types. We've had a number of picnics recently, where in the tomato often makes an appearance. It's an easy, healthy snack, and it never hurts that I usually end up with a basket or so left over.

So I've been experimenting, as I am with all other foods these days, on new ways to use the tomato. I've roasted tomatoes multiple times before... but have recently come across numerous blog posts for oven-dried tomatoes. Not too much different from roasting... just at a lower temperature, and for much longer. Easy enough, I figured I'd give it a try.

Turns out oven-dried tomatoes are pretty damn good. I'm used to the intense, salty nature of sun-dried tomatoes, and thought that these would be similar, but they are completely different. The tomato flavor when oven-drying becomes very sweet, and the flesh of the tomato is so soft, I would almost even describe it as creamy. It was delicious. I topped my Mascarpone BLT Tartines with them and oh la la... magnifique.


Oven-Dried Tomatoes

1 pint of small-sized tomatoes(plum, roma, cherry, etc.)
extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and rub extra virgin olive oil on the foil.

Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Place tomatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle salt over top of them. Place in the preheated oven for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your tomatoes. The tomatoes will be done when the edges are shriveled but the center flesh is still a little soft. Store in plastic bags in the freezer or immersed in a container of extra virgin olive oil.

On another note, I had my first pizza in Paris! Mushroom, cheese, and an egg on top. Yum.

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