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These tasty morsels are a wonderful variation on the sun-dried tomato theme. Make them when tomatoes are dirt cheap; in other words, late summer. Sun-dried tomatoes are an ancient Italian method of preserving tomatoes for use throughout the year, but they have a couple of drawbacks. Firstly many people find then a little too salty. You can get around this by sun-drying them yourself but you need to live in a fairly warm, arid climate and be prepared to chase away birds on a regular basis. If you want to make fully dried tomatoes look here - otherwise, read on.

This variation uses an oven instead and does not dry the tomatoes entirely. You may find them in funky upmarket food stores under the name of semi-dried tomatoes. They will not keep like sun-dried tomatoes, but this is of little matter. They are so delicious that they wont last long anyway.

It is important to use roma tomatoes (also known as plum tomatoes or egg tomatoes) because they have a high flesh to pulp ratio. The slow drying will remove most of the moisture and other varieties of tomato will leave you little to sink your teeth into.

Once made you have a multitude of choice on how to serve them. They are a delicious on top of bruschetta with basil and olive oil or try tossing them through freshly cooked pasta with some sea salt and lemon. Served with semolina gnocchi, rocket and freshly shaved parmesan they make a wonderful vegetarian entrée.

Ingredients

Method

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways. Heat your oven to 150° C (305° F). Place the tomatoes flesh side up onto a cake rack then set the whole lot over an oven tray. Sprinkle each tomato half evenly with olive oil and garlic (or just brush with the garlic oil). Continue sprinkling with the vinegar, seasoning and herbs until each tomato has been addressed. Place in the oven for 2 hours, when they will have halved in sized and look appetisingly caramelised. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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