Back in high school and college when I worked in a bakery my absolute favorite bread was Sundried Tomato and Swiss. The name, which seems a bit boring when I hear it now, didn’t do the flavor any justice. It was a slightly crusty bread with a soft center and tangy pieces of sundried tomato throughout. A little hot sauce in the dough gave it a bit of a kick.
That bread was likely my first experience with sundried tomatoes. Not knowing what else to use them for besides as a Panini or sandwich topping, I went through a bit of a sundried tomato dry spell until we moved to Brazil.
There I rediscovered them in the form of the sundried tomato and arugula combination. We could get this combination on everything from pizza, to inside pastel (fried pastry), to a topping for pasta.
Since returning to the US I’ve gotten a little more adventurous with sundried tomatoes, recreating some of the things we had in Brazil and trying some new creations. The goat cheese platter covered in marinated sundried tomatoes from Tupelo Honey in Asheville last month comes to mind.
Despite my attempt at creativity, I still have an entire bag sitting in my pantry. I realize that this isn’t a bad problem to have, but it still has me looking for more and more ways to use them.
Tonight they found their way into our salad dressing.
Using some of the fresh thyme coming up in our herb garden, I combined the sundried tomatoes and some garlic for a thick dressing that is also light and full of flavor. This is the type of dressing that will go great on a steak-house style wedge salad with some blue cheese or over spring garden greens with a little sprinkle of feta.
Sundried Tomato and Thyme Vinaigrette
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (mine were packed without oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place ¼ cup of the olive oil in a small sauce pan. Turn the heat to low, and add the sundried tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Turn the heat up slightly until the oil begins to simmer. Watch it closely and reduce heat if necessary. Allow it to simmer or bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the dressing in a mini or small food processor. Add the remaining olive oil and vinegar. Pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.