The other day I told my grandmother that I had asked my mother the recipe of her sun-dried tomatoes. I thought I was making her proud, bringing back that sweet part of our story. Little I knew…
When I was a kid and along my teenage years sun-dried tomatoes were THE THING at my house. We always had a jar filled with it in the fridge.
It was our homemade shout against the industrialised found on supermarket shelves and restaurants. Always with burned edges and not really tasteful. Always with the exactly the same plain flavour. Always spongy.
Back then, sun-dried tomatoes were in everything everywhere. It made green salad more colorful, a pasta with a fancy air, a main dish with an exotic touch.
It was a dining out hit.
But my family’s recipe was totally different from anything you would find out there. It had a peculiar sweetness. The soft texture melting in the mouth. A redness seducing you…
My grandmother is very picky when doing grocery shopping.
Well, to be honest, she is picky with almost everything, and I just hope I got a little bit of that from her. It makes everything that she does even more special.
Picky in her case means choosing and doing things with extra care, extra patience, extra love.
So, the tomatoes were carefully handpicked, one by one, to perfection. And they blossomed during the hours in the oven, until ready for the jar.
I’ve been doing this recipe a lot lately since I’ve moved abroad. It makes my life much easier. If there is a guest, boom, get some bread and that’s it. Lack of inspiration? Bring one of those old ideas back to life.
Also, I have been experimenting with other types of tomatoes available around here, such as the super sweet Kumato (brown, my favourite), yellow, and different dried herbs, such as Herbs de Provence.
Sun-dried tomatoes recipe
3 kg tomatoes ripe
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 garlic cloves fine chopped
oregano (or other dried herbs)
Do it yourself:
Cut the tomatoes in 4 pieces and take off the seeds, leaving the inside part if possible.
Arrange them in a tray with the inside part up. Sprinkle the mixture of sugar and salt.
Leave in the over for 2 hours in low heat.
Take off all the water from the tray, turn the tomatoes upside down, and repeat the process 2 or 3 times, as you wish.
When it’s almost ready, sprinkle the garlic and bring it back to the over for 10-30 minutes.
Add oregano (or herbs) and olive oil and let it cool. Arrange in layers in a jar, adding olive oil in each layer.
Leave it in the fridge to use.
Tip: depending on the tomato you might have to adjust the salt and the sugar. Once my brown tomato turned a bit too sweet for my taste. An extra pinch of salt makes it a killer.
“But how about your grandmother?”, you might be wondering…
Well, I have to confess: in that day that I told her that I was going to make her sun-dried tomatoes she replied me with something like:
“Hmmm… That’s too old fashion. Too kitsch for me. I don’t like it anymore”.