Summer is all too short in New England, and tomato season, while gratifyingly abundant, is sadly fleeting. To extend the shelf life of what nature has provided, one of my favorite methods for making the most of a bumper crop of tomatoes, is by oven drying. The resulting jewels are sweet, chewy, and have an incredible concentrated tomato flavor.
Very easy to do, just pick a day when you plan to be inside, or handy to the kitchen, pop a kitchen timer in your pocket and just let the oven do all the work.
Country House Oven-Dried Garden Tomatoes
Several pounds of tomatoes of any size, washed and dried
Preheat oven to 250° F.
Halve cherry and similar sized tomatoes; quarter larger tomatoes.
Line rimmed sheet pans with aluminum foil; grease with oil.
Place tomatoes skin side down on prepared pans. If you’re using different sized tomatoes, group like sized tomatoes together, using separate pans if needed. (Done times will vary according to size, and this will make the process easier.)
Sprinkle with kosher salt and place sheets in preheated oven.
Check on the progress once an hour and as they get closer to doneness, every 30 minutes. Smaller, cherry tomatoes will be done first. They’re done when reduced in volume by about half, the skin looks a bit leathery, and the inside still has some juice.
Depending on your oven, this whole process can take between three to six hours, but it’s worth it.
Store your oven-dried tomatoes in a glass container, covering in olive oil if you like. We prefer to store them in the fridge and bring them to room temperature before serving.
Enjoy in salads, pasta dishes or as part of an antipasto with thin slices of Parmesan cheese, pepperoni and some crusty bread.