I love everything there is about tomatoes — I even eat them like apples. Everything, that is, except for sun-dried tomatoes. I don't know whether it's the chewy texture or the intense flavor (which doesn't taste like a tomato to me), but I really don't like them. It's the one ingredient that can steer me away from a dish.
However, this recipe is as close to a sun-dried tomato as I can get. I only cook them for 2 ½ hours so that they still retain some of their juices but have a more concentrated flavor. If you'd like, you can continue to cook them for 3-4 hours total, so that they shrivel up and more closely resemble a sun-dried tomato (or oven-dried tomato rather). I use these in pastas, with grilled pork, steak, chicken, or quickly cooked fish. To be honest, I also just eat them as they are.
- 7-8 plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- ¼ teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried mint or 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- Pinch of dried red chile flakes (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, usually around 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the tomatoes on it, cut side up. Distribute all of the remaining ingredients evenly over the tomatoes, just using a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for 2 ½ hours or longer if desired.