|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
When tomatoes from the garden or farmer's market come in faster than you can eat them, extend the life of those ultra-ripe beauties by drying them in your oven. Sturdy plum tomatoes work particularly well for oven-drying. The low-temperature roasting intensifies the flavor and preserves them for later use. Serve them on their own sprinkled with salt, in a pasta dish, or anywhere a recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes.
Note: Feel free to oven-dry more tomatoes than the recipe calls for; just spread them out on extra pans–the drying process works best when the hot air can circulate completely around each tomato piece.
Preheat the oven to 200 F. Rinse the tomatoes with cool water and dry them thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel or layers of paper towels.
Hull or remove the core of each tomato. Cut small tomatoes into quarters and larger tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Use a teaspoon or the tip of a dinner knife to remove the seeds and any juice from the tomatoes.
Put the tomato pieces in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil on them, tossing gently to distribute it evenly. Position the cut tomatoes on a wire rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of space all around each piece.
Set the tray on the center rack in the oven; check the tomatoes every half hour and pull them out when their edges curl up and they reduce in size by about a third, after approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on the ambient humidity and the juiciness of the tomatoes.
Leave them to cool at this plump-dry stage, or put them back into the oven for up to an additional 3 or 4 hours if you prefer a chewier texture.
Add a sprinkle of salt, a few grinds from the pepper mill, dried basil or oregano, garlic salt, crushed red pepper flakes or any spice you like when you toss the tomatoes with olive oil.
You can dry tomatoes directly on a baking sheet, without a wire rack, but be sure to flip them a few times so they dry out evenly. With larger pieces, prick the skin side a few times with the tip of a sharp knife, which also helps them dry out more evenly.
Try drying cherry tomatoes to add an unexpected bite of chewy sweetness to salads.
Store oven-dried tomatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to six months. You can optionally cover them with olive oil to extend their life and create an infused oil you can use in salad dressings or drizzle on any dish as a finishing oil to give it a pop of flavor.