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i *want* to like sundried tomatoes....

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but i can't buy any that taste good. they are tasting "muddy" to me. maybe i need to try different brands, but when it is two or three crummy ones in a row, i hate wasting my money!

how do you use them? do you reconstitute in just water? are some brands fresh-tomato-ier tasting? your favorite brand? packed in oil, or simply dry?
any good recipes that feature them?

i have had good ones in restaurant dishes, but it is *not* happening at home! help!

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  1. I don't use them often, but when I do, I buy them at the deli counter at the grocery store -they make them there.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      you know, mmruth, maybe the tomato dishes i've had were oven-roasted, and not sundried...

      1. re: alkapal

        Frankly, I'm sure these probably are too - in Manhattan, I doubt they have a place to lay them out in the sun!

        1. re: MMRuth

          I did some research a while back to probe the efficacy of drying my own because twice a year we have wonderful tomatoes in Florida, and sun-dried are so expensive. The necessaries to avoid insect infiltration and other subtleties are more than I want to take on, so it's back to the grocer...

          1. re: MMRuth

            I know a pizzeria owner who used to dry tomatoes for his paste up on the tar roof over his store,

            1. re: coll

              tar certainly gets very hot, doesn't it!

              1. re: coll

                sammyw, tell your husband that i was inspired to do a riff on his garlicky tomatoes (and this is soooooooo easy!):

                cherry tomatoes, halved, set on micro-safe plate, cut-side up.
                sprinkled with pecorino romano and panko,
                drizzled with evoo in which fresh minced garlic had infused.
                a little more panko and a little more cheese, and a little more of the garlicky olive oil,
                then a little drop of balsamic on each one.

                nuked at half-power in three one-minute increments.

                i've got to tell you all, these were really outstanding. (and so easy!!!)
                i was in tomato-garlic heaven. they actually reminded me in taste and texture like the garlicky escargot! (even though the only ingredient in common is garlic.) mr. alka raved, too. now, today, i'm going to make them again.

                to resurrect a phrase: "try it, you'll like it!"

                1. re: alkapal

                  Will try this. It sounds really good and I would not have thought of the panko in there.

        2. I usually buy the Bella Sun Luci 3 ounce plastic packages. They need some re-hydration but when I fold pieces into chicken salad or a braising liquid or a brothy sauce like a Veracruz, there is enough moisture to return them to a nice edible texture. A little goes a long way...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            hey veggo, the snake hit the mail truck in a tube day before yesterday! ;-)

            1. re: alkapal

              Cool! Snake's in the mail!

              1. re: alkapal

                Update: Snake arrived today. I have been besieged by the major art auction houses, but I'm not in this for the money. I have promised it to the Smithsonian.

                1. re: Veggo

                  well. mr. veggo, i am sorry that it was pretty much a worthless piece of paper... (seriously!!) but the love was there.... ;-) (i hope that you did not have hopes up about pbs's auction show!)

            2. I like the sun dried tomatoes that come in brine. I think they are much better than the ones you have to reconstitute.

              1. I'm with you, I'm not a fan either. But I do adore oven roasted tomatoes. There not a strong & have much more flavor in my opinion, and they're surprising simple. My hubby made some a while back if your interested in trying: http://sammyw.wordpress.com/2008/08/1...

                1 Reply
                1. re: sammyw

                  one word: AWE-some! (no, two: awesomely delicious!)

                2. I used to buy them but recently have been roasting my own, low and slow. They are much sweeter and less acetic. Sliced in half from stem to stern....I season them with a little sprinkle of sea salt, herbes de Provence and EVOO. Sometimes instead of the SS I use Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle. They get packed in a jar with a little more olive oil and live in the fridge till needed.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    We do something like this (dip in olive oil, cut, and slow roast with garlic, fennel seeds and thyme sprigs). We start with a hot oven and keep turning the heat down over a span of hours. Supposedly this replicates old village bread ovens in Italy as they cool, per Lynn Rosetto Kaspar.

                    Then we freeze these in small amounts and live off them all winter. They make fantastic sauce for over pasta with or without meat. And great bruschetta.

                    I have one large batch in the freezer and am going to the farmers market this morning for more tomatoes.

                    1. re: Gio

                      I discovered slow-roasted a few years ago and it's such a fabulous way to use tons of late-season tomatoes. The other night I slow roasted cherry tomatoes, but accidentally over roasted them, and they were so good!!! They turned out kind of like sun-dried tomatoes, but like candied sun-dried tomatoes. We couldn't stop eating them. Tonight I tossed them in pasta with goat cheese sauce and pine nuts. Now I just want to make more!

                      1. re: ScarletB

                        I just did the same thing last week and again, another stomach ache!

                        My husband calls them tomato crack because I just can't stop eating them once I start.

                        1. re: jencounter

                          So good! I'm lamenting that I don't have enough cherry tomatoes, which is pretty ridiculous considering the mounding bowls we've been going through the last month plus. Never again will I have too many tomatoes, especially the cherries!

                    2. For sun-dried tomatoes, I prefer those packed in olive oil. If you're looking for intense tomato flavor, try oven roasting them. I blogged about it here http://jengotablog.blogspot.com/2008/...

                      Caution for those who are sensitive: some bad language in the entry linked. Otherwise, enjoy. I know I did.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jencounter

                        I enjoyed your blog Jen... I gotta try these!

                        1. re: egusto

                          I ate so many that I got a stomach ache.

                        2. re: jencounter

                          jen, nice blog.
                          about your excesses of veggies, namely zucchini (your hash and oven-roasted tomatoes looked great): have you seen the post about cooking veggies in the waffle iron? if you haven't, here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/446954

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Wow, I haven't! Thank you.

                        3. How did you try them?
                          I prefer mine cut teeny tiny and sprinkled into orzo, made into a paste and slapped inside a bnls/sknls chicken breast with a large hunk of mozzarella and baked, made into a faux pesto and stirred into gemelli, chopped and served on a slab of goat cheese. Every single one of these I use the packed in oil kind.

                          1. I had a delicious sun dried tomato spread the other day...I'd try a spread or using them on a pizza first. It will ease you in! I used to hate them too but these two dishes made me like them!

                            1. I think the brand makes all the difference. I enjoy Pastene which are packed in oil.

                              1. I use sundried tomatoes mixed with other things, not on their own, and have never had a problem buying cheap bulk ones at the health food store and rehydrating them in boiling water. If the tomatoes are going to be the main event, I would use slow-roast instead. If you don't have tons of time you can start roasting them in the evening, then turn off the oven, keep the door closed and wait for them to be finished come morning.

                                1. They make wonderful mayo or aoili-- blitz some soft ones, or ones packed in oil (no crappy dried herbs and garlic in canola oil, though!) and put them in garlicky aoili, and try that on a turkey sandwich. Mmmm.

                                  1. I feel this way also, but this smitten kitchen post intrigued me... may have to try it!
                                    http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/08/slo...

                                    1. Hi alkapal. I use sundried tomatoes packed in oil usually. Or I reconstitute at home and store in olive oil in the fridge. This is one of my fave recipes using SDTs. It's a copycat, but that may be a good thing for you since you say you've only enjoyed them in restaurant dishes. Hopefully this link works....

                                      www.recipezaar.com/64356

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: diablo

                                        diablo, my sister just loves carrabbas' chicken bryan.

                                        thanks all for the hope, encouragement, ideas, recipes..... keep 'em comin'!