Sundried tomato with mozzarella and basil

Sundried tomato with mozzarella and basil

Pomodori secchi con mozzarella e basilico

By
From
Venice
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

William Sfrizzo, a seller of sundried peppers and tomatoes in the Rialto market was so proud of his product that he showed us his iPad footage taken in Sicily where you can see literally acres of tomatoes lying open on racks in the sun. It takes just 3 days to dry them after they are washed in salt. The scale and yet the low-tech approach that has worked for probably centuries was incredible to see. The flavour was even better, sweet and savoury with the moreish hit of umami to boot.

William told us that you could use them for antipasti dressed with oil and vinegar, and stacked on small chunks of mozzarella and basil leaves – or whizz them up into a sauce and pour over sliced mozzarella or cooked fish. Stock up on bags of them when you are abroad and keep them in the cupboard until you need them. They are miles better than anything in oil from a jar.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. To bring the dried tomatoes back to life put 100 g into 2 litres boiling water with 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Cook them for 6–10 minutes or until the salty taste has gone. Stir occasionally but don’t let them break up. Drain them, rinse and drain again. Squeeze them gently between two sheets of kitchen paper, pressing down on the top for a couple of minutes. Put them in extra-virgin olive oil with a splash of white or red wine vinegar and a crushed garlic clove. Make sure they are always submerged in the oil. I keep mine in a jar or plastic container with a lid. They are ready to eat after a day but will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.
  2. For dried peppers do the same as above but boil for just 1 1/2– 2 minutes and store as above.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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