[Recipe: Oven-dried Tomatoes]

It came, finally. How long did I wait? About one year — one impatience- and anticipation-fraught year. By means I will forever be oblivious to, Amazon.com secured for me and shipped to me my very own copy of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.


And how do I love it? Well, we might as well count the ways.

1. It holds the directions to a juicy, sweet-sour rendition of oven-dried tomatoes (my new favorite way to use up the last of the summer crop; see recipe below).

2. I now know what nigella seeds are and, by definition, what Labneh is, although I haven’t found any locally yet (to wit: it’s an Arab cheese made by straining yogurt so it loses most of its liquid).

3. It’s one cookbook that’s going to keep me guessing, chock-full as it is of curious ingredients (like the aforementioned, but also Camargue red rice, green tahini, purple-sprouted broccoli).

4. It also prominently features a few of my favorite things, like couscous and feta and pistachios, sweet potato and coriander and rocket (that’s arugula, to us statesiders).

5. It’s got delightful uses for the pomegranate molasses sitting in my fridge that I never know what to do with and the rosewater I bought but never opened. Here I come pistachio and rosewater meringues!

6. It takes me (mentally, culinarily, at least) to far-off places, and stokes that fire we sometimes call wanderlust to actually go to far-off places. Sometimes I feel that if it weren’t for cooking, I’d never get anywhere.


Oven-dried Tomatoes, the Ottolenghi way

(from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook)

These are good enough to just drop into your mouth after they cool. They’re even more marvelous in grain salads (like couscous) or on sandwiches.

16 large, ripe plum tomatoes, cut into halves lengthwise

2 tbsp muscovado sugar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange tomato halves on a baking tray, skin-side down and sprinkle with the sugar, olive oil, vinegar and several grinds of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours or until tomatoes have lost most of their moisture.

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10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I am so glad I read your post a second time! Now I (at long last) know what arugula is! It’s rocket! (and yummy).

    This sounds like my kind of cook book – I cannot resist exotic ingredients, so my store cupboard gets choked up with jars and bottles that never get used up. But it is fun.

  2. 2

    woods4 said,

    ohh these would make a boring sandwich or pasta amazing

  3. 3

    Elisa said,

    They’re like little jewels! I can’t wait to try these!

  4. 4

    Trisha said,

    dressingmyself: I think I should start calling it rocket. I kind of like that name better, and then I may have a shot at getting my girls to eat it. : )

    woods4: They would be yummy on pasta. I mixed them into a couscous salad (taking my cue from the Ottolenghi recipe, I used a blend of Israeli and whole-wheat couscous).

    Elisa: Thanks!

  5. 5

    food4two said,

    Oh my god, you only just got your hands on Ottolenghi! I can understand your excitment. It is one of my prized cookbooks – I love just leafing through the pages.

    You have to try the turkey and sweetcorn meatballs they are so moorish and addictive. Plus I love the spiced chickpeas with honeyed sweet potato, great bold flavours. I haven’t ventured into the pastry section yet because it all looks so tasty.

    I also cannot believe you don’t use purple-sprouting broccoli in America – is it not in the shops there? It is such a great vegetable. I eat mountains of it in February stir-fried with ginger, garlic and oyster sauce.

    (I shamfully also have a bottle of pomegranet molasses in the cupboard unused! Let me know when you find a good recipe for it)

    Love the photo of the tomatoes, it is beautiful


  6. 6

    Trisha said,

    Claire: It so happens I have the spiced chickpeas w/honeyed sweet potato bookmarked to try soon! (Ok, so I have practically all the recipes bookmarked to try soon.) And I ventured into pastries yesterday with the pistachio rosewater meringues. We were swooning over here, and I don’t use the word “swoon” lightly.

    Have you been to an Ottolenghi outpost? Would love to hear about it!

  7. 7

    Now I need the Ottolenghi cookbook. It was on my list of places to visit in London, but I just never made it. Will have to keep an eye out for cheap Eurostar tickets.

    And if you need any Camarge red rice, I’d be happy to send you some. I bought it on a whim at the organic store and it turns out to be very tasty – not unlike brown rice, but somehow deeper and richer.

  8. 8

    Trisha said,

    Camille: If you ever make it to Ottolenghi, I’ll be first in line to read your post. I may take you up on your offer to send over some Camargue red rice. I have a couple more sources to check locally, but no luck, so far. Perhaps I can reciprocate — I imagine sending a block or two of Tillamook cheddar would be logistically difficult, but surely there’s something else you miss? 🙂

  9. 9

    Sorry I’ve been absent for so long. Dried chilies are always appreciated over here in the Land of No Spice…

  10. 10

    […] — after I supervise the first graders’ craft, that is — I’m making some chargrilled asparagus and zucchini with strange cheese that’s a byproduct of feta. I’ve cleaned those toilets a zillion […]

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