Dissatisfaction with the quality of sun-dried tomatoes available led to experimentation with home-drying. The results are splendid. Such a simple, easy but slightly lengthy process has an almost alchemical effect on the tomatoes.
Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the tomato halves, flat side up, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle carefully with coarse salt, coarse pepper and a very small amount of sugar. Bake dry in the preheated oven for 1 ½–2 hours. They will cook at an uneven rate so from time to time reposition them, bringing the rawer ones to the outside of the tray. (Baking trays tend to warp and form a swamp in the bottom; a large Le Creuset gratin dish is therefore the best for this type of cooking, as only a French nuclear test would warp it.) Allow to cool. Store if not needed in a jar covered in very good olive oil in the fridge.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.