Who doesn’t love images of the South of France and, particularly visions of the many tasty French food creations. Markets abound, not only in each city, but in each village, with cheeses, meats, and produce displayed in arrays of creativity and with a certain cultural and regional pride. The array of culinary works of art often seem endless.
Yet the French also have a talent for making the most simple dishes tasteful and inviting. By using the freshest ingredients, they bring nature inside and make it dance around on the palate. This recipe was given to a friend of mine by a lady selling her wares in a market in Nice in the South of France. Who knows …. it could have been a family recipe passed down by generations ….
Because the store-bought sun-dried tomatoes were quite expensive, I dried fresh Roma tomatoes in the oven, so if you want more of a challenge feel free to try it. They take about 15-20 hours at 170ºF but if you have a lower setting, they should really be baked under 140ºF to retain their natural enzymes for maximum nutrition. I’ve tried drying them in a dehydrator before, but they don’t have the smoky tang that the oven seems to give them.
This recipe is extremely flexible and it’s fun to add a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another each time to vary the flavour. However, for those more measurement-oriented cooks, I’ll give the measurements of what I used in brackets after each ingredient.
Use on its own as an appetizer, as a topping for toasted baguette slices or with pasta, you can’t get more quick and easy than this!
Sun-dried Tomatoes Provençal
A secret recipe from the markets of Nice.
- 1 package sun-dried tomatoes – not in oil (approx. 2 cups sliced – I sliced each half in 3 strips)
- Olive oil (approx. ¾ cup – if your tomatoes are softer, use less)
- 4-5 medium garlic cloves, crushed (I used 2 large and 1 medium)
- Fresh basil, chopped in short strips (½ – ¾ cup)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil chopped in short strips, to garnish
Place tomatoes in a shallow bowl. Pour olive oil over them and mix; the olive oil should come up high, but not high enough to cover them. Add the garlic and the fresh basil. Mix. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture macerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, stirring it occasionally. When ready, stir in a little more fresh basil, then taste the South of France!
Food for Thought: “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ~Rumi