Semi-dried cherry tomatoes are an absolute must use "secret ingredient" in any cooks repertoire. They pack a serious flavour punch and in many cases liven up boring dishes that seem to miss something.
These little oven-dried tomatoes have an intense sweet umami taste, which makes them perfect little flavour enhancers and a magic bullet ingredient few cooks know about.
What is it
Some of you might have made one version or another of semi-dried tomatoes, oven-dried tomatoes or cured tomatoes.
The process is very much the same for all. Most recipes require you to half the tomatoes.
This is where we are doing things differently and using whole cherry tomatoes and you could use any size tomato for this recipe.
What makes these the best?
We quickly blanch the tomatoes and remove the tough skin before marinating them and gently drying them in the oven.
We prepare them whole to keep all the flavour inside which intensifies as the tomatoes slowly dry in the oven.
By cutting tomatoes in half we lose precious juice and the flavour aromas literally evaporate out of them. We try and eliminate that effect as much as possible by drying them whole.
Although tomatoes are best as a seasonal summer treat these can be dried and used all year-round as a healthy, tasty addition to your favourite dishes.
- Salt – Natural fine sea salt
- Oil – Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Spices – Black pepper
- Herbs(optional) – Fresh/Dried thyme
- Powdered sugar(optional but necessary) – Any plain powdered sugar will work.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil.
- Blanch cherry tomatoes for 5-10 seconds by submerging into boiling water and immediately plunging into ice-cold water and gently remove the skins.
- Prepare an oven tray with a sheet of baking parchment and place the tomatoes on the tray.
- Sprinkle with salt, oil, powdered sugar, and reshly ground black pepper(optional).
- Place into oven and check after 40 minutes on the progress. The exact time will depend on your oven and the size of cherry tomatoes. When done they should be slightly shrivelled up but not too dry.
- Let them cool down before using.
Vanilla and tomato is a great combination and for specific purposes like when served in a tomato consommé, it will be a dinner party show stopper.
To make it add a bit of fresh vanilla to the oil or use naturally flavoured vanilla sugar.
An easy way to make the sugar is to store used vanilla pods in the actual sugar to let it infuse over a few days or weeks. It keeps indefinitely when stored correctly. Sealed airtight.
You can easily modify this recipe by doing the following:
- Salt – You could use smoked salt or another flavoured salt here.
- Spices – Try with paprika, chilli flakes or a small touch of clove.
- Herbs – Finely chopped rosemary or organum are great substitutes for thyme. Also, try dried basil and mint.
- Pasta – Add these to almost any pasta dish for a wonderful burst of flavour. This tomato & mozzarella pasta uses cherry tomatoes. Throw in a few of these oven-dried cherry tomatoes just before serving for an extra intense tomato flavour.
- Salad - Add to this easy salmon salad for a touch of sweetness. Use in combination with fresh tomatoes in Greek salad or add an extra layer of flavour to Caesar salad or roasted pumpkin salad.
- Snack - If you like your mind blown add onto these parmesan biscuits.
- Bruschetta – Add a few onto toasted sourdough bread, spread with ricotta and finished with fresh basil and good olive oil.
- Pizza - Use instead of sundried tomatoes or just add it when the pizza comes out of the oven.
- Breakfast – Add to baked eggs or with dishes like frittata or quiche.
Frequently asked questions
Once prepared and cooled down, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
They will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days store airtight. You could store them in oil for a few weeks. I recommend making them fresh though. It’s so simple and quick and the flavour is remarkable when used on the day you prepared them.
Freezing is not recommended as the freezing process will negatively affect the delicate structure of the tomato. However, if you plan on using them in stews or soups and do not need them to hold their shape, then go ahead and freeze airtight for up to 6 months.
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Semi Dried Cherry Tomatoes
- Bring a pot of water to the boil.
- Blanch cherry tomatoes for 5-10 seconds by submerging into boiling water and immediately plunging into ice-cold water.
- Gently remove the skins.
- Heat oven to 90°C or 194°F.
- Prepare an oven tray with a sheet of baking parchment.
- Lay the tomatoes on the sheet.
- Sprinkle with salt, oil, sugar(optional), freshly ground black pepper(optional).
- Place into oven and check after 40 minutes on the progress.
- The exact time will depend on your oven and the size of cherry tomatoes.
- When done they should be slightly shrivelled up but not too dry.
- Adding icing sugar is totally optional especially if you have intensely sweet cherry tomatoes.
- Usually, this process takes about 50 minutes but yours might be quicker or longer.
- Serve in salads for extra flavour punch or on toasted bread with soft ricotta and basil.
- Stores well in the fridge for about 3 days.
- Do not freeze.