This recipe makes the most elegant dried tomatoes I have ever seen. The skin is peeled off plum tomatoes and their pulp is scooped out, leaving only the meaty tomato flesh “fillets.” Drying the tomato fillets for a few hours in a relatively hot dehydrator intensely concentrates the tomato flavor without making them too chewy or leathery. Once you have these perfect red tomato petals, what do you do with them? Roll them up with dabs of goat cheese for an appetizer; chop them and toss with angel hair pasta, olive oil, and basil for an intense version of a fresh pasta sauce; or garnish a fancy fish dish with them. They are special, and definitely worth the fuss.
- Yield: 4 oz (115 g)
- 16 plum tomatoes
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Line dehydrator trays with nonstick fruit-leather sheets.
- Bring a large pot of water to a soft boil over medium-high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
- Score an X through the skin at the pointed end of each tomato. When the water boils, place about four tomatoes in the pot. After about 45 seconds, use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the tomatoes and put them directly into the ice water. Peel the blanched tomatoes. Let the water boil again, and repeat the process with the remaining tomatoes.
- When peeled, cut each tomato into quarters. Scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp of each quarter. Put the fleshy tomato petals in a large bowl and season with the salt. Toss gently with the olive oil and thyme.
- Lay out the tomato petals on the prepared trays. Dry at 160°F [71°C] for 2 to 4 hours, until the tomatoes have a somewhat matte surface and have shrunk by about half. Let cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or cover completely with olive oil and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.