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much-maligned sundried tomatoes

I'm on a mission to use every random thing in my pantry before buying any new items "just to try." A while back, I bought a pack of those dry sundried tomatoes at Trader Joe's, not sure why but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I just now rehydrated them with boiling water, put them in a mason jar and covered them with olive oil. now what? what do you like to do with sundried tomatoes? they do have a nice flavor, though a little too beef-jerky-like in texture at times, i find. maybe a fine julienne would help that. any ideas? thanks for the help.

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  1. Lodgegirl, Sun dried tomatoes were the darling of the 80's. You couldn't go into a single restaurant without some type of sun dried tomatoes on the menu. Now they're out and Myer Lemons are in. (Well, they were last year; there will be a new fad ingredient for 2007, I'm sure.) Since it's 2007, you risk your culinary reputation by using them. However, if you insist, they are very good in omelettes and fritattas.

    1. Yuck. They're maligned for a reason. It's like eating rubber bands.

      1. How about a sundried pesto over pasta. Sauted with broccoli or spinach.

        1. In this brisket recipe they're added to canned tomatoes to add a more intense flavor to the beef:


          1. Pesto rosso, a chunky purée of equal amounts of sun-dried tomatoes and pitted black olives along with fresh thyme and rosemary leaves, degermed garlic, crushed chiles and olive oil. Great spread on toasted country bread, used to sauce spaghetti (with chopped parsley and grated parmesan), spread on a piece of cod before roasting, spread on the inside of a lamb or rabbit roast before rolling and roasting, etc.

            1. Sun dried tomatoes can be wonderful, if prepared correctly.

              Find the best sun dried tomatoes you can can. They should be red, not brown, moist not totally dry. Only soak them in water if you want to remove some of the excess salt. I usually do. Dry them well and cover with EVOO and add a skewer of fresh garlic, basil leaf and a few whole peppercorns or pepperoncino. Cover the jar and let them sit for at least two weeks. (This is the hard part :+})

              I use them on Bruschetta, on Pasta, in salads. You can use the oil to flavor Pasta, Salads, etc.

              They are still delicious.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Fleur

                Heed this advice. Avoid brown sundried tomatoes like the plague. They are absolutely awful.

                1. re: Shazam

                  I actually like to dry them so crispy that they are like potato chips and eat them as a snack food. But I am crazy that way.

              2. I actually like them and have never had a problem with them being chewy. Epicurious has a Chicken in Sun Dried Tomato Cream sauce recipe in case you're interested.

                Here's a quick pasta-chicken-broccoli recipe from a friend from years ago that also uses them--"try not to overcook the broccoli" I wrote in my notes:

                Joy's Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

                1/4 cup olive oil
                2 cloves garlic, crushed
                1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
                1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
                3/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, thinly sliced
                2 teaspoons dried basil or 1 teaspoon fresh
                Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
                1/4 cup dry white wine
                3/4 cup chicken broth
                1 Tablespoon butter
                8 ounces bow-tie pasta, cooked according to directions
                1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
                Makes 4 servings.

                In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic til light golden and then add the chicken strips and saute til almost cooked through. Add in the broccoli, saute for about 2 minutes and then add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Add the wine, broth and butter. Cook for another 3 or 5 minutes, til heated through. Toss the cooked pasta with the chicken mixture and serve with parmesan cheese.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Val

                  I've made the epicurious recipe before - it's lovely!

                2. they may be "out" and someother ingredient "in"
                  you may be "maligned"
                  but they're still delicious, i always add some to my salads, or tomato bases sauces, in pastas, and especially in bread. Make a sundried tomato and olive bread or something!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RiJaAr

                    Nothing is out or in as long as it tastes good. And good sun dried tomatoes taste great. Wonderful chopped and included in a pasta salad. The rec for a sun dried pesto is great too.

                    Also good in quiche, which, of course is another dish that some people like to dislike because it had it's heyday a few decades ago. But... done well, they are wonderful. A spicy spinach and sun dried tomatoe quiche is a thing of beauty.

                  2. They may be out but who cares? Make what you want in your own home—if anyone complains, move them to the B list of guests; they don't deserve your good and free food!!

                    Here is a fabulous Savory Cheesecake that I make as an appetizer or part of a buffet. I serve it with toasted bread or crackers and some people just cut full slices and eat it without crackers.

                    I chop the sun dried tomatoes when I make this because I don't like them whole, and last time I made it, I also added about 2 T of Pesto and it was great!


                    Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake

                    5 (1-ounce) slices whole wheat bread
                    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                    1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
                    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                    1 tablespoon butter
                    1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
                    1 garlic clove, minced

                    1 1/4 cups sun-dried tomato halves, packed without oil (about 3 ounces)
                    1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat cottage cheese
                    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
                    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
                    1/4 teaspoon salt
                    2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
                    2 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese
                    2 large egg whites
                    1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
                    1/2 cup drained canned artichoke hearts, chopped
                    72 Melba toast rounds (about 12.5 ounces)

                    Preheat oven to 350°.

                    Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment.

                    To prepare crust, place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse breadcrumbs measure 2 cups. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, rind, and pepper in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add butter mixture to breadcrumbs; stir with a fork. Press breadcrumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

                    To prepare filling, cover sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and finely chop.

                    Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Add lemon juice and next 5 ingredients (through egg whites); process until smooth. Add tomatoes, basil, and artichoke; process until well blended. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until almost set; let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill; cut into 24 wedges. Serve at room temperature with Melba toast rounds.
                    Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 wedge and 3 melba toast rounds)
                    CALORIES 164 (34% from fat); FAT 6.2g (satfat 3.5g, monofat 1.9g, polyfat 0.5g); PROTEIN 9.3g; CARBOHYDRATE 18.1g; FIBER 1.9g; CHOLESTEROL 18mg; IRON 1.3mg; SODIUM 410mg; CALCIUM 82mg;
                    Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2004

                    1. I really like them in a lot of things (that savory cheesecake sounds like something I should try!) but these days I mostly have them around to put on pizza with goat cheese. Make sure to fully rehydrate them in hot water first; the extra time in the oven will also make sure they're not rubber-bandy at all.

                      1. A few added to a Thousand Island Dressing (for seafood salads) really improves the flavor.

                        1. add garlic to the oil your are marinating the tomatoes in.

                          in a few days serve on slices of italian bread with fresh mozzerella and fresh basil.

                          1. If they are dried, try putting them in a risotto. They ought to soak up up a little more stock, so add extra liquid.

                            For the wet, oil packed ones I like to run them through the food processor and stuff chicken breasts with them along with some hard Parmesan, for a kind of Italian version of a cordon bleu. Looks beautfiul when cooked and sliced open...


                            1. I too, have an unopened packet of sun dried tomatoes in my cupboard. I just found a recipe for "prawns puttanesca" I think I'll try later this week. The recipe calls for sauteing prawns in olive oil with salt and pepper; remove, then deglazing the pan with a bit of white wine, and adding rehydrated/drained/chopped sundried tomatoes and garlic and simmering for 3 minutes; then adding fresh tomatoes, pitted Nicoise olives, capers, anchovies, lemon zest, parsley, and red pepper flakes.

                              Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a hilarious column about 5 years ago about the "Eat yourself out of house and home diet," that sounds very familiar to what you're trying to do. Of course, he was just being silly...

                              EDIT: here's a link to that Jon Carroll article:



                              2 Replies
                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                What a great article!! Every time we move (luckily not THAT often) I do this myself, although we never got around to eating the cat food. One thing I discovered is that Progresso soups can be added to almost anything for a complete and delicious meal.
                                On the sundried tomatoes, I think julienned is the only way to go. They sell them both ways in foodservice, and pretty much everyone buys them cut up, not whole. Soaking them with the garlic and basil sounds great, I never did that when I had some, which is probably why I don't have any favorite recipes. Maybe do an antipasta platter with everything that might possibly apply?

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  the SF chronicle article is hilarious! While it would be an added bonus if I lost weight, right now it's more critical that my cupboards thin down. I need room to fill them with new things to try!

                                2. Always make your own. A big Mason Jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes with Garlic and Herbs in EVOO sits on my kitchen counter most of the year. It doesn't ever last that long. Delicious as OP said on good bread with mozzarella.

                                  The Olive Oil left can be used in vinaigrettes or to marinate meats or chicken.

                                  1. IMO, sundried tomatoes are the most overrated thing in the world. I don't get their appeal. Is it the dry texture? The crappy mouth-feel? The un-tomato-like taste?

                                    Somebody clue me in here.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                                      I'm with you! Yuck. As I said before, like eating rubber bands. Gimme a real tomato.

                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                        That's kind of like knocking dried porcini mushrooms because they're dry and leathery. I mean, you're not supposed to eat them out of the packet, you're supposed to reconstitute them in some way, and then they become wonderful, because their flavour is so concentrated.

                                        They're good for adding deep tomato flavour to something that can't take the extra liquid that a bunch of fresh tomatoes would add, e.g. a quiche.

                                        1. re: frenetica

                                          Eh. Done that. Still hate 'em. Just my personal taste, of course, but I still say they're really overrated.

                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                            Sun dried tomatoes can be wonderful. I never recontitute them. I like them chopped finely in cold pasta salads, stuff like that. That way I get concentrated flavor with the texture I want.

                                            So, they aren't overrated... just overrated to you. Which is perfectly fine.

                                            1. re: adamclyde

                                              Yeah, as I said, it's just my personal taste. I know many, many people who I respect very much regarding food who love them.

                                              They're just not my thing.

                                              Then again, I make my own headcheese. I imagine many folks find that repulsive.

                                      2. I've been inspired to add garlic cloves, fresh thyme and peppercorns to my jar of sundried tomatoes and olive oil. thanks so much for all the enlightening ideas above! I will stuff some chicken breasts as AKR suggests, and i'm going to try carswell's pesto rosso too. and sundried tomato cream sauce a la epicurious sounds like it's bound to be good. thanks a bunch everyone!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lodgegirl

                                          Just be careful with garlic in oil for periods of time. It's the perfect breeding ground for botulism, so read up online about how to do it safely.

                                          Good luck!

                                        2. If yours are high quality, eat them out of the bag like you would dried fruit.