Pomodori Secchi al Forno Oven-dried Tomatoes
500g very ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
Salt as required
1 tbsp dried oregano
olive oil, as required
Preheat the oven to very low, about 50ºC/the very lowest gas possible
The sun-dried tomatoes you buy in shops are often too salty and dry, because all the tomato liquid has been extracted through evaporation in the sun. Much nicer are the so-called ‘sun-blush’ tomatoes, which are much less dehydrated. Their ‘blush’ probably comes from an oven rather than the sun, and the simple truth is that you can have much more control over an oven. Tomatoes like these are easily made at home, and you can start with a small batch to see how you cope. Use the oblong plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano.
Using a small spoon, remove and discard the seeds from the halved tomatoes. Put the tomatoes on a rack, cut-side down, to remove most of the water. Leave for about 15 minutes.
Line the tomato halves up on a baking tray cut-side up, and sprinkle each with a pinch of salt. Put into the very low preheated oven for at least 2/3 hours until you see them shrinking. You want them to lose more of their water but still remain soft.
Take out of the oven, and leave to cool. Put in a jar or bowl. Sprinkle a little oregano and a few drops of olive oil on to each tomato. Eat within a week of making, and keep refrigerated.
To keep for longer
If you want your tomatoes to last a bit longer, cover them with oil in a lidded jar, and store them in the fridge. But make sure that all the water has evaporated first and add a little more salt