[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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