Sun dried tomatoes are made, as the name suggests, by drying them in the sun as a means of preserving them and ensuring the fruit doesn’t perish and go to waste. The intensity of flavour that is created by this process lends itself very well to a range of culinary applications.
Here, the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Christopher Basten, who is also the head judge for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, shares a few of his favourite recipe ideas…
1/ Sun dried tomato pesto
Blend together 150g sun dried tomatoes, three garlic cloves, 80g basil, 40g lightly roasted pine nuts, 60g Parmesan and a pinch of chilli flakes and seasoning in a food processor. Drizzle with olive oil until the correct consistency is achieved.
2/ Sun dried tomato and polenta terrine
Make up 375g polenta and season well then fold in 150g sun dried tomatoes, 20g chopped parsley and 80g cooked, diced pumpkin. Next, line a terrine mould with cling film and gently pour in the mix and leave to cool. Slice and pan fry with a little sage butter.
3/ Sun dried tomato butter
Combine 500g unsalted butter, 200g sun dried tomatoes, 20g chopped flat leaf parsley and a teaspoon of English mustard together and wrap ‘sausage’ style in parchment paper. Use for steaks or grilled fish.
4/ Sun dried tomato relish
Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan, cook 200g chopped onion, four chopped garlic cloves and a sliced red chilli stirring till all soft. Add 1kg chopped and peeled ripe tomatoes, some sun dried tomatoes, some grated green apple, 200ml cider vinegar, 200g brown sugar and one teaspoon of salt and stir over a high heat, without boiling until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for an hour stirring occasionally then leave to cool.
5/ Sun dried tomato bread
Bring together 250g strong plain flour, a teaspoon of salt, some dried yeast, 110ml water and 50g sun dried tomatoes in oil. Hand knead for 10-15 minutes till a smooth dough is formed. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place. After the second knock back, shape and place into a 180°C pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.
ABOUT: CHRISTOPHER BASTEN
Christopher Basten is head judge of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, as well as the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Chairman of Judges. A classically trained chef, Chris has worked with the likes of John Burton-Race and Raymond Blanc, and is currently chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College in London responsible for teaching the culinary arts to students.
He is an active member of the culinary team and competed in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in 2002, 2006, 2010 and the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt in 2000, 2004 and 2008, taking silver medals in each event.