If you love authentic and traditional flavors, sun-dried tomatoes will seduce you. Their sweet taste goes well with savory foods, and they are the trump cards for an aperitif made of real Italian flavors and scents of the land, kissed by the Mediterranean sun.
Dried tomatoes in oil are typical in southern Italy. Tomatoes are vegetables that ripen in the summer season; in order to enjoy them year-round, farmers would dry them in the hot southern sun.
The dry and hot air combined with the power of the sun rays dried the tomatoes, which were then immersed in extra virgin olive oil and stored in glass jars. Dried tomatoes in oil are still made today, and the main ingredients remain the same: extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes and sun! While they are excellent to be enjoyed on slices of toast, dried tomatoes in oil are also perfect to flavor pasta dishes or salads.
Dried tomatoes in oil are very simple to prepare. It is ideal to dry the tomatoes in the sun, but this climatic barrier can be overcome with the use of an oven.
Wash the tomatoes, cut them in half and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Season the tomatoes with one pinch of salt and one of sugar. Place the tomatoes skin-side up and bake at 120° C for 8-10 hours.
After, let the tomatoes cool and arrange them inside properly sterilized glass jars. Cover the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil and a few sprigs of thyme, to taste. Close the jars tightly and store in a cool, dry place.
Dried tomatoes in oil can be used to flavor pasta-based dishes. Chop finely with a knife and toss in a pan with a clove of garlic, then season the spaghetti!