Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Tomates Mi-Séchées

[Semi-Dried Tomatoes]

Remember how I mentioned buying a bottle of balsamic vinegar and some coriander anchovy tapenade at the balsamic vinegar tasting the other day? Well, I lied.

I also got a little bag of semi-dried tomatoes, moist and plump.

They come in a sealed package which seems to protect them well because the best-by date is in June — of 2005. The suggested uses include adding them to sandwiches, salads, pasta, risotto, stews, terrines, quiches and pizzas. Talk about leaving no stone unturned! Now all I have to do is make up my mind and decide what to do with them. Ah, choices choices choices…

The label is very promising, describing them as moelleuses (mellow), goût intense (intense flavor) and sans conservateurs (preservative-free).

But the best part, is this : “Ingredients : Tomates.”

  • isabelle

    hello clotilde!

    i just bought the same thing, this weekend, from the same shop! the grand epicerie also has them, where i usually get my “stash”.

    my favorite way to prepare them is very simple — i sauté them in olive oil with garlic and quartered fresh ripe cherry tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, for a very easy pasta sauce — then top with parm/ reggiano — simple and delish.

    by the way, i’m a huge fan of your site — and just discovered one of my most favorite breads in all of paris (a dense fruit and nut loaf at the “medeival” bakery in your arrondisement), thanks to you. merçi!

    keep up the excellent food work!

    isabelle (an american eating/cooking/dancing/running/knitting and living in the 12th arrondisement)
    ps by the way, have you read jeffrey steingarten’s “it must have been something i ate”? i think you would love it.

  • Jay Francis

    Here in Texas, well to be blunt
    1. It is hot most of the year.
    2. Just about everyone has an automobile.

    Irene and I have a spare auto that is always parked in our driveway, used for emergencies or on the week-end because she now has a company car. So, we keep it in case we have car problems and need an emergency car.

    With the windows closed, the temperature inside of this car gets up to around 110 F to 115 F.

    I discovered that I could slice and lay out ripe tomatoes on a stainless steel drying rack on the dashboard of the car, and, voila, have sun dried tomatoes in a day or so, without having them exposed to the air (flies, etc.). So, I have become famous among my friends for cooking in my car.

    After the success of the tomatoes, I also started making yogurt in the car, to great success also.

    So, if you know anyone who has a car, you can start sun drying your own tomatoes when summer comes. Be sure to place a towel underneath the drying rack though to protect against stains to the car dashboard.

    And the best part is that the best tomatoes to use are those that are just about to go bad. So, get to know your green grocer and have him sell or give you his tomatoes that he/she is about to throw away.


  • Yum, now I’m craving a insalade caprese, with the best buffalo mozzarella, some sliced fresh tomato, and a few of these semi-dried tomatoes scattered over the lot, with some torn basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


  • Sher

    Jay, I love that you are using your car for culinary purposes!!! Drying tomatoes in a car reminds me of the practice of drying green beans in parts of the Southern mountain region of the United States. They are often referred to as shucky beans. Why this is so, I don’t know, as you don’t shuck them at all. The beans are dried and then later cooked with water and salt pork. I understand that some people dry their shucky beans in the rear window of their car.

    I live in the Central Valley of California, where we reach temperatures of 107 degrees during the summer, so I will be drying some tomatoes in my car this year. Excellant idea!


  • It sounds like these may be similar to roasted tomatoes. I am quite fond of roasted tomatoes, marinated or not, during non-tomato season. Sun-dried tomatoes are a little strong to me (they’ve been overdone, alas) but roasted toms are a nice middle ground. I even use them in my favorite fresh tomato pasta dish – soft goat cheese, raw diced tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and capers. When I have Real Fresh Tomatoes I put some olive oil and garlic on them while the noodles are cooking, so the marination has a similar effect (although the roasted tomato flavor is different). Haven’t been bold enough to try them in bread salad yet though.

    I grew up in Tomatoland so am quite picky about fresh tomatoes. (Although Romas can be okay off-season.)

  • Isabelle – I’m delighted I led you to this bakery! The bread you speak of has been giving me the eye for quite a while, I will have to cave in and try it! They also make a pistachio cake that looks luscious…

    Jay – This is the coolest use of a car I’ve ever read about! :) And thanks for the tip on the very ripe tomatoes, I’ll try to make a deal with my produce merchant!

    Jackie – Excellent suggestion, this salad, and I’ve just bought a pot of basil for our window sill herb garden…

    Sher – Let us know how your dashboard tomatoes turn out!

    Charlotte – I agree, these are probably a nice change from the oversalted overdried sun-dried tomatoes, and I love slow-roasting tomatoes too! And where it Tomatoland, if I may ask?

  • i’m sure this comment will never get seen on such an old post, but i always thought ‘moelleux’ meant soft. Damn you, text-book french!

    also, i just put some tomatoes in the oven. This website is just too yummy looking.

  • Deanna – Oh, but I get notified of all comments, so there’s no such thing as an unseen comment around here! :) But back to your question : “moelleux” is one of those words that are near impossible to translate. “Moelleux” is a mix of mellow, soft and tender, I would say. More than just “soft”, it carries the idea that it is pleasant to bite into and chew on, with a well-rounded texture. Hope the tomatoes turned out well!

  • That moelleux explanation makes sense! One of the frustrating things about ‘text book school french’ is that you almost never get taught the subtleties of words, just their most straightforward meaning.
    And yes, the tomatoes were absolutely delish! Had them with some baked fish and cumin/ginger/sesame oil roasted potatoes. (Beleive it or not, all inspired as something to go with the tomatoes – since i hate having fish with just other bland-coloured foods!)

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