How to make semi-dried Piccolo cherry tomatoes

How to make semi-dried Piccolo cherry tomatoes

The sister to a deliciously oil-soaked sun-dried tomato, the semi-dried tomato has a slightly juicier, fresher flavour and can be made surprisingly easily at home. It is also an excellent way to preserve a glut of cherry tomatoes – simply store them in a jar of oil. This will also result in some seriously tasty oil, which can be used in cooking or salad dressings.

Drying out the tomatoes in a low oven removes moisture, giving them a slightly ‘chewy’ texture and really intensifying the flavour. A popular technique with chefs, they're a great way to introduce a hit of tangy umami to dishes – plus they're a pretty addition to the presentation of a dish.

They're a particularly good ingredient for adding to salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches or antipasti spreads, but they’re basically great on anything that requires a hit of tangy, herby umami.

How to make semi-dried Piccolo cherry tomatoes

Ingredients

1

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2

2

Slice the Piccolo cherry tomatoes horizontally, (it's important to cut through the middle this way so you get the nice cross section of seeds) finely chop the garlic cloves and the thyme leaves

3

Place all in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of oil. Arrange cut-side up on a baking tray and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

4

Place in the oven and cook for 35–45 minutes or until just starting to dry out, then remove from the oven. Depending on your preference you can cook for slightly less time for a juicier tomato, or cook longer for a a pleasantly chewy result

5

You can use straight away, or they'll keep for a few days in the fridge. If you want to preserve for longer (up to a month) you can submerge completely in oil and store in a jar in the fridge

Flavourings

While they’re delicious with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, there are many ways you can boost the flavour of these little red gems. We’ve suggested garlic and thyme in the recipe above, but any herbs work well, particularly rosemary, dill or oregano. You can also experiment with other aromats such as ginger, chilli or lemongrass. Or why not play around with spices – smoked paprika or cumin seeds would both work really well.

Classic pairings

Open topped sandwiches

Super salads

Cherry tomatoes are often a staple of a good salad. Switching them out for semi-dried Piccolo cherry tomatoes adds a deeper flavour and a bit of a cheffy twist– plus they look beautiful too. Check out the recipes below as a starting point, but they really can be thrown into any salad to enhance it!