I have been sun drying tomatoes of all types since ages. Not only tomatoes actually, I love the sun dried fenugreek leaves and mint leaves too and have some batches of sun dried mulberries, peaches and apricots as well. I keep adding them to my salads and granola bars now and then and sometimes they end up in my smoothies too. But the most valued sun dried vegetable is tomato for me as I love the way it enriches the tomato flavour in just about anything I use it with. You will find procedure to sundry tomatoes and recipe ideas here on my post.
Sun dried tomato paste is a useful condiment too. It stays well like a pickle and can be put into use quickly and conveniently. I smear it on toast and crostinis sometimes. I add it to my potato salads and make a dressing for chicken salads some other times. I have had it smeared on my cheese omelet too and even ragi ki roti. Believe me, the sun dried tomato paste smeared on ragi ki roti tasted yummy when made into a roll with some green salad and boiled eggs. You would love this sun dried tomato paste and curry leaves stir fried mutton liver too.
But the most loved use of the sun dried tomato paste this season was this crostini made with the skillet breads, very lightly toasted, smeared with the sun dried tomato paste and topped with roughly minced fresh home made paneer, sliced olives and fresh home grown rucola leaves. The combination is just divine and have been repeated many many times for a quick dinner with a bowl of salad or for a quick evening snack.
recipe of the sun dried tomato paste
(makes a 250 ml jar full)
sun dried tomatoes (without oil) 120 gm
balsamic vinegar 80 ml
water 40 ml
garlic cloves 50 gm
capers 2 tbsp or about 30 gm (optional)
pickled jalapenos 2 tbsp (optional, I used because I had some)
red chilly flakes 1 tbsp
fresh oregano 3 tbsp
fresh basil about 20 leaves
extra virgin olive oil 100 ml (or more if you want oil floating over the jar)
salt 40 gm
Soak the sun dried tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and water overnight.
Blend it with all the other ingredients and keep in a glass or ceramic jar. It stay well at room temperature for about a month. For about a year if refrigerated.
If using oil packed sun dried tomatoes, skip using extra virgin olive oil.
Adjust seasoning after tasting the paste. You might want to add a dash of sugar if your tomatoes were too sour to start with.
The crostini can be made using any bread you have at home. Or just make a sandwich with the same filling. Rucola leaves taste really great with the tartness of this sun dried tomato paste.
Or just enjoy a chickpeas salad with sun dried tomatoes dressing and some feta or good old paneer.
To make the 'sun dried tomato paste dressing' for this salad, just mix 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with 1 tbsp of this tomato paste and whip till smooth. No salt or seasoning is required as the paste has enough and the boiled chickpeas also have salt.
Add small cubes of paneer and mix, add chickpeas (soaked overnight and pressure cooked), halved cherry tomatoes, halved black grapes and leaves of rucola. You can replace these with other fruits or salad greens of your choice but the paneer and chickpeas soak up the sun dried paste dressing really well.
Sun dried tomato paste is a versatile condiment you would realise. Try it smeared on idli sometime and see what I mean.