Thursday, June 10, 2010
TRUELY TASTY TOMATOES
Sometimes the really simple salads are the best. This salad was an afterthought I just threw a packet of baby spinach in a bowl sprinkled over some semi sun(oven)dried tomatoes with their oil, olives feta cheese and balsamic vinegar, it was really good. Each and every flavour was distinct and they complimented each other beautifully. Couldn't be easier or tastier!
A few years ago my wonderful friend K. gave me a gift of a days cookery course with Kevin Dundon in Dunbrody House. We had a great time - and learned loads. Although even Kevin was unable to teach me how to chop onions properly, I really wish I could chop onions properly (you know with the flying knife the way the chefs on telly do it!!)
One of the handy basics Kevin covered was Oven Dried Tomatoes, they are incredibly easy, and the slow cooking intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes (and can actually give some flavour to our awful supermarket specimens). I have simplified the recipe a little over the years, and this is what I do:
Oven Dried Tomatoes
10 Tomatoes (or about 40 cherry tomatoes)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves
2 tbsp Chopped Fresh Thyme
Quarter the tomatoes or cut into eight if very large (cut cherry tomatoes in half)
Measure the oil into a small bowl and grate the garlic into the oil (this prevents the garlic charring)
Place the tomatoes in a roasting dish and sprinkle with the thyme.
Drizzle the garlicy oil over the tomatoes and leave in a warm oven for a few hours.*
They are ready when they have a slightly dried texture at the edges.
Store in a jar covered with extra virgin olive oil in the fridge. (This oil is wonderful in salads)
*Kevin said to put the tomatoes into the oven after cooking the Sunday roast, and that the tomatoes would cook in the residual heat. I have found that this is not enough to dry the tomatoes, and I roast them in a low (about 100 C) oven for 3 hours.