Food and Drink: Weekend Cook 14: SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES IN OIL Serves four to six. Total time: 2 hrs 15 minutes

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The Independent Culture
STAYING AT Les Moulins, Christophe Leroy's mill just outside Saint Tropez, the chef there, Gerard Puigdellivol, sent out a balmy lunch including a plate of these candy-sweet tomato petals. Since fashion has turned its back on sun- dried tomatoes, this half-dried type comes under various names including confit and sun-blushed. And given the kind of prices charged in the shops, you are better off making your own.

1.5 kg/ 3 lb 5 oz medium-size tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, skin-on and crushed

5 sprigs of thyme

sea salt

caster sugar

extra virgin olive oil

a handful of basil leaves

Heat the oven to 120C fan oven / 130C or 250F electric / Gas 1/2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, cut out a cone from the top of each tomato to remove the core, plunge them into the boiling water for 20 seconds and then into cold water. Remove them and slip off the skins, then halve and de-seed them. Lay the tomato petals on a non-stick baking tray, scatter over the garlic and thyme and season with salt and a sprinkling of sugar. Drizzle over four tbsp of olive oil and bake for two hours. Once they are cool, place them in a bowl or a jar interspersed with the basil, and cover with olive oil. If not serving straightaway, cover and chill for up to three days, bringing back up to room temperature before serving.