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Summer's bounty: When tomatoes ripen past their prime, try drying them in the oven

By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency on

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 F (120 C). Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water and place it near the stove. With a small, sharp knife, score a shallow X in the flower end of each tomato.

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Carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water and blanch them until the skin begins to wrinkle and peel back from the score marks, 15 to 30 seconds. With a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, immediately transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the bowl of ice water.

Drain the tomatoes and, starting at the scored X, peel them, using your fingertips and, if necessary, the knife. With the knife tip, cut out the cores. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and, with your fingertip, remove the seeds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomato quarters on top, cut side down. Drizzle the 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the oil, sprinkle the thyme, and scatter the crushed garlic cloves over the tomatoes. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper and sugar, and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tomatoes.

Bake the tomatoes until they begin to shrivel and have darkened to a deep red color, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a nonreactive container. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup (125 ml) of olive oil over the tomatoes, adding more as needed to cover them completely. Cover the container airtight with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate and use as needed within two to three days.



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