Serves: Makes ½ pint
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ cup water
- 14 to 16 dried tomato halves (following)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed in a mortar or spice grinder
- 2 rosemary sprigs, 2 inches long
Procedures:Serve these plump, moist tomatoes on a sliced baguette or bruschetta, add them to sandwiches, or enjoy as a topping for pizza bianca (a pizza without tomato sauce). It is not safe to keep garlic and fresh herbs under olive oil for a long time, even under refrigeration, so make a batch of these marinated tomatoes as you need them and use within a week.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, and water. Stir until the liquid is clear again, indicating that the salt has dissolved. Put the tomato halves in another small bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Weight the tomatoes with an overturned saucer or jar lid so they remain submerged. Let stand until they soften and are pliable but not so long that they become mushy; begin checking them after 1 hour, though some may need up to 2 hours to soften, depending on dryness. Remove them to paper towels to drain as they are done. Let them dry for 1 hour.
- Put the olive oil, garlic, fennel seed, and 1 of the rosemary sprigs in a small skillet and set over moderate heat until the garlic begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Pack the tomatoes in a clean half-pint jar. Top with the remaining rosemary sprig and the strained oil. Fill the jar with enough additional olive oil to cover the tomatoes completely. Cover with a lid. Let stand at room temperature for 1 day before using. For longer keeping, refrigerate but bring to room temperature before using. They will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Dried Tomatoes: Choose meaty, elongated plum tomato varieties, such as Roma or San Marzano. Cut in half lengthwise. Place, cut side up, in a dehydrator with the temperature set at 135°F. Leave in the dehydrator until the tomatoes are dry and stiff, with no moist or soft spots, 12 to 24 hours. Check often. Cool, then refrigerate in heavy-duty storage bags or plastic containers. They will keep indefinitely.