What better ingredient to pair with sun-dried tomatoes than the other food fad of the 1990s, fresh goat cheese? This is the dish I made recently to satisfy cravings. As caprino al pumate, it was a standard at my Angeli restaurant for the entire length of its run. I still serve it to friends, and it gets demolished every time. The tomatoes’ hit of acidic sweetness is paired and tamed by the creamy richness of the cheese. The garlic oil soothes the acid, and floral yet earthy dried oregano grounds it all.
Place the garlic cloves in a small skillet and pour enough olive oil into the skillet to just cover them. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the garlic cloves become flecked with golden color all over, about 6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the garlic cool in the oil.
Cut the cheese into half-inch-thick slices (or leave whole) and arrange in an overlapping fashion on a serving platter. Scatter the tomatoes over and around the cheese, followed by the capers. Remove the garlic cloves from the oil and add them to the platter. Sprinkle the oregano over everything and season with freshly ground black pepper. Finish by drizzling a generous amount of the garlic oil over everything; reserve any remaining oil for another use. Serve at room temperature with crackers or good crusty bread.
Slow-Roasted Small Tomatoes
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the tomatoes in the baking sheet cut side up and grouped according to their size or type. If you want them drier, leave a bit of space between them. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper as you normally would and drizzle a bit of olive oil over them. If you wish to add herbs, simply lay the sprigs here and there over the tomatoes.
Bake until they are as dry as you would like, two to three hours. Transfer the tomatoes to a storage container, add a pinch of chile flakes, if using, and pour in enough olive oil to cover them completely. You can also freeze these if they last long enough to make it to the freezer. They keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Rehydrating Dry-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Add the tomatoes, cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes are plumped.
Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and let the tomatoes cool completely in the water. Drain the tomatoes and place on paper towels to dry.
Place the tomatoes in a small jar or storage container, seal and refrigerate, up to 1 week. Optionally, sprinkle chile flakes over the tomatoes in the jar, then cover with the olive oil. Seal the jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
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