"Choose tomatoes that are grown and ripened in dirt, that have never been refrigerated and are more fleshy than juicy, in other words, egg or Roma-style tomatoes" says Matthew Evans. "We partially dry them, which means they don’t keep as long, but aren’t as hard or sharp as sundried tomatoes. If you get bored waiting for them to roast, pull them out earlier and use them quicker -more moisture means they’ll ferment quicker and start to smell like tomato wine".
- 1 kg Roma tomatoes, halved lengthways
- 1 tbsp pure coarse sea salt
- 2–3 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 handful fresh oregano, leaves picked
- 4 purple garlic cloves, peeled, bruised
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 1 star anise
- 250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil, approximately
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes about 600 ml.
You will need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
Preheat the oven to 120°C (235°F /Gas ½).
Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking tray and sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly over the top. Roast the tomatoes for about 2 hours, or until they are starting to dry, reducing the oven temperature if need be -you want the tomato to retain some squidginess, without being wet. The tomatoes should be about one-quarter of their original size; try to avoid them getting too brown.
Sprinkle over the vinegar and oregano, and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until the vinegar has dried off the outside.
Place the tomatoes (leave any salt on the tray out) in a large sterilised glass jar with the garlic, orange zest and star anise. Press down gently and cover with enough olive oil to submerge, then allow to cool to room temperature.
Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. They’ll be perfect after 2 days, and should keep for up to 2 weeks if cooked properly. The preserving oil is excellent used in pasta, on bruschetta or in salads, too.
Recipe from The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book by Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara, with photographs by Alan Benson. Published by Murdoch Books.