I smuggled these tomatoes some 2,700 miles across the country on Saturday. They went from a tomato field in California on Friday to my kitchen and subsequently, my mouth, yesterday.
If you’ve ever flown to San Francisco from somewhere east, you’ve probably seen that huge swatch of farm land with it’s perfectly straight lines and symmetrical plots from the airplane window right before you cross over the mountains and into the Bay area. It looks like a whole lot of nothingness and it kind of is, minus the one little fact that what’s growing in those fields below happens to feed a substantial amount of our country. That’s where I was Friday as I toured family peach and tomato farms that work with Del Monte.
As we stood in the 90 degree heat and blazing sun listening to the Pereira family tell us about growing and harvesting tomatoes, I picked up a perfectly good tomato that had rolled into the irrigation ditch and would therefore be passed up by the harvesting machine, rubbed it off on my shirt and took a bite out of it.
It was like biting into pure sunlight. Sweet, juicy and the definition of fresh. So when they offered us paper bags to fill up and take with us as we left, I filled up as many as I thought I would fit in my suitcase and was determined to get those babies home with me in one piece.
When I got to the airport (ridiculously early with 1.5 hours to kill) Saturday morning, I walked over to the Hudson News store to glance through a few magazines. I’m that person that reads magazines in a store and doesn’t buy them. As I flipped through Food Network magazine, I saw this spread on vegetable chips. Tomatoes being one of them. Then I read the directions and it said MICROWAVE. Not oven, not dehydrator…microwave. I don’t own a dehydrator, I hate turning the oven on in the summer, I like chips and I’m not one of those people who thinks the microwave is going to kill me (if you are, you might want to move on from this post) so I snapped a pic with my phone and came home on a mission.
It worked. Beautifully. They’re like sun-dried tomatoes, minus the whole sun part and a bit crispier. Douse them in salt, spice them up however you want, use them with some goat cheese sandwiched in between (<—yes, do that).
Microwaved tomato chips. Who freakin’ knew?
- 2 large firm tomatoes, sliced thinly (about 1/16th of an inch)
- kosher salt
- cooking spray
- Lay sliced tomatoes on a cutting board.
- Sprinkle generously with salt, let sit for 15 minutes.
- Pat the tomatoes with a paper towel to soak up the moisture.
- Flip the tomatoes, re-salt and let sit for another 5 minutes.
- Repeat the process with the paper towel.
- Spray a flat, microwaveable plate with cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)
- Arrange the tomato slices on the plate and spray them with cooking spray.
- Microwave for 5 minutes on power level 7. (see note)
- Remove the plate from the microwave, carefully flip the tomatoes and microwave for another minute.
- Remove from the microwave, transfer the tomatoes which should be mostly dry and crisp at this point to a cooling rack.
Lightly adapted from Food Network magazine