Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sun Dried Tomatoes

I don’t know about you, but I happen to love tomatoes.  Here are some of the varieties I bought today from Sage Mountain Farm, which I will show you in our meal tomorrow~


If you follow my blog, you know that on my trip to Italy this spring I was captivated by the sun dried tomatoes at Rome’s famous Campo dei Fiori market~


So many to choose from, here is just one; the softer varieties make amazing snacks~


But we don’t find them at our SoCal markets, generally; I know they are at some of the San Francisco markets; but today on a visit to the San Diego Hillcrest market, I found Sage Mountain offering sun dried heirlooms~


And a few booths away, another vendor offering sundried Roma’s; these were dried on redwood planks and still rather soft; a real burst of flavor to so many dishes~


As a tomato is about 90% water, you can imagine the flavor of a sun dried tomato is really intense; yes, these are, and rather than leave them in a plastic sachet, I decided to pair them with one of my favorite herbs, thyme.  You can never grow enough thyme or have enough time, trust me~


You can reconstitute sun dried tomatoes with various methods including hot water, a splash of vinegar, white wine….but today I decided to go with simple olive oil.  This method works very well in France with goat cheese, so I decided to try it on tomatoes… In a sterilized jar, place the tomatoes and thyme in alternating layers; I used the heirlooms first then sprinkled in the Roma’s to fill in the spaces~


Cover with olive oil; this pic was taken in the late afternoon sun of my kitchen; it’s a very relaxing time of the week for me, to putter around with what I found at the market that day~


The oil will infuse with the tomatoes and thyme in a few days or a week; I will decide what to do as I watch the jar for a few more days.  Sandwiches? Salads? Infuse then remove the fresh herbs?  Not sure, yet.  But I had an instant thought about what to do with the remaining tomatoes in the sachet.  GIFTS!!  So I set up three more jars with the remaining tomatoes and more thyme from the garden; this looks very attractive to me, as I hope it will be to my friend Nick across town who has helped me this week with some mega gardening projects; he will appreciate & use this jar~


I had wanted to see my friend J across town this weekend, but she has family in town and I hate to intrude.  But just before dawn I will leave this jar in a small bag with a card on her cottage gate, with a little tomatoes & produce I gathered today, and I think it will make her happy~


Of note, the French often use an herb called Sariette for tomatoes or goat cheese and olive oil; it is in the Savory family.  Sometimes at the markets you will see vendors selling Summer or Winter Savory.  It is somewhere between Thyme and Mint. Take a look next time you are shopping for herbs….

The good thing about gifting to foodie friends is that they will give you comments in return.  Did you drain the tomato & herb oil and use if for salads?  Did you refrigerate it and use it slowly?  Which do you prefer, the Roma or Heirloom?  It’s all organic, it’s all good.  It’s all great to share~

If you like and use sun dried tomatoes, I would love to hear how you reconstitute and cook with them~

I have a DaLe chicken in the oven now and tomorrow I will show you what we are eating for Labor Day~


  1. Oh my goodness Andrea, these look just glorious, the sundried tomatoes and thyme are so beautiful in the oil, layered that way! What friend wouldn't be thrilled!

    Love pasta dishes with sun dried tomatoes

    Art by Karena

  2. Hello Karena, what a lovely inspiring post..beautiful images and good ideas!
    I also like to use dried tomatoes ,added depipped olives when baking bread, serve with olive oil.
    Thank you for your welcome visit to my blog xoxo Colette

  3. Sorry Andrea! I called you Karena,...reading The comment above mine and well just not thinking!COLx

  4. I was going to call you yesterday afternoon to see how the 1/2 first week went. But I thought you might be busy. And you were!
    How pretty to just sit in your kitchen window and let the sun shine through.

    I have NO idea what I am cooking today. Really I need a day off from the stove so it will probably be bbq'd chicken. :)

    Small package will be going out to you this week.