These muffins are the perfect summertime snack. Or, in my case, the perfect summertime dinner, with a side of coffee. The base of this is a plain savory muffin, but every bite is flavored with fresh basil and black pepper, and the bites where you get a sun-dried tomato are like a burst of summer. The parmesan cheese in the batter adds just enough of a salty cheesy bite so that these aren't bland in the least.
Since I live with my parents, and my mom has a garden that's raging out of control, I decided to take over and use up some of the sweet orange cherry tomatoes and basil we've got fresh to pick 24/7 (seriously, who needs five cherry tomato plants and eight regular sized tomato plants!?). I'm so happy I made the oven-dried tomatoes for these rather than buying them from the store. I've discovered a new favorite, and an easy way to use up all the tomatoes we have. They'd be perfect on pasta or in a number of other dishes.
Oven-Dried Tomato and Basil Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
For the oven-dried tomatoes:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I used about 3 cups of fresh-picked cherry tomatoes)
small pinch of sugar
kosher salt and pepper
For the muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (if using salted butter, omit the 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
3/4 cup oven-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional 1-2 tbsp for garnish
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
To make the oven-dried tomatoes, preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Place the tomatoes in a small baking dish in a single layer, cut side facing up. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Bake for about 3 hours, or until the tomatoes are mostly shriveled up (my tomatoes took closer to 5 hours). Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted cooled butter. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan cheese.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin pans. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.
Let muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm or cool completely and store covered for 3 days.
adapted from Annie's Eats and Confections of a Foodie Bride.