As with most culinary adventures I owe the inspiration for finally making these little beauties to George and Tina. They got me into cheese-making and smoking and also introduced me to the wonderful book by Diane Henry Salt, Sugar, Smoke which has just taken my obsession with preserving to a whole new level. Yes, I spent a good chunk of the weekend preserving things when I should have been doing stuff in the garden. This recipe comes from there. You do need quite a lot of tomatoes, we have a fair number, but not as many as I would like …. moan moan moan ….
Oven-Dried Tomatoes: tomatoes (lots) some salt, pepper and sugar, white wine vinegar, olive oil.
Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Put the tomatoes on a rack in a baking tray cut side up and sprinkle the insides with a little salt, pepper and sugar.
They should look like this when they are done
Allow to cool for 15 minutes then carefully remove them from the wire racks. Put them in a shallow bowl and pour over the vinegar. Leave for 15 minutes. Then pack into sterilised jars, pour in the vinegar but top with half an inch or so of olive oil. The oil should cover all the tomatoes so don’t pack too many in one jar.
And what, I hear you ask, do you do with the tomato insides? Of course you don’t throw them away, you make this soup – again courtesy of Tina and George. You should make this soup not only because it tastes fantastic but also because it gives you a nice little smug glow inside – and because of that I am renaming the soup Smug Inside Soup
Smug Inside Soup: tomato insides, celery, onion, water, garlic, olive oil, seasoning, splash of red wine vinegar (good quality one) and a pinch of sugar.
Gently saute the chopped celery, onion and garlic. When soft add in the tomato insides and some water and cook for a while – I also added a few other tomatoes – ones that were looking a bit ropey. When you remember, turn it off and liquidise everything.