Sometimes it’s the simple recipes that pack lots of flavor. John Ash’s crostini with oven-dried tomatoes
fall into that category. We made the dish over the weekend. The crostini — topped with the oven-dried tomatoes, chopped olives, garlic paste and fresh herbs — flew off the plate ... though we did manage to squeeze a few photos in beforehand.
The concentrated flavor of the oven-dried tomatoes paired beautifully with the brininess of the olives. John,
a noted California chef and culinary instructor, says oven-drying is a great way to vastly improve the “pretty awful” tomatoes you often find in the supermarket.“It’s a very simple technique and I will usually do three to five pounds at a time and then store them in the refrigerator for use in salads, with pasta, rice or just about anything that tomatoes are called for,” says John
.The tomatoes were a breeze to prepare. We halved some Roma tomatoes lengthwise and drizzled them and some unpeeled garlic cloves with our Everyday California EVOO
. After adding some salt and freshly ground pepper we placed the tomatoes and garlic in a 275 degree oven for a few hours. The tomatoes came out beautifully, although we probably could have dried them even a tad longer."They idea is they become meltingly soft, almost like a marmalade," John told us afterward. Regardless, they tasted delicious.
We had made sourdough baguettes earlier in the day, and so we brushed a few slices of one with more EVOO and grilled the bread over a moderately hot fire. John suggests putting the slices under the broiler or toasting them in a 375 degree oven.Assembling the crostini was easy. We squeezed the roasted garlic from their skins and mashed them with a mortar and pestle. We spread that on the grilled bread, added some chopped olives, and topped each with a roasted tomato or two, chopped basil and mint, and more EVOO.The dish makes for a great hors d’oeuvre. We enjoyed our crostini with a glass of Campari. They’d also make for a great snack or lunch dish.Bon appétit,Claude S. WeillerVice President of Sales & MarketingCalifornia Olive Ranch