For this recipe we only partially dry the tomatoes because we still want to keep some of the juices, but they can be cooked longer for a drier tomato. Be sure to use the highest quality tomatoes for the best results. Use the tomatoes as a garnish in soups, on salads, sandwiches, pastas, as an accompaniment to meat or fish or chopped and spread on a baguette.
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, in a 6 quart Copper-Core buffet casserole. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 3 1/2 hours to partially dry the tomatoes. They will shrink in size but should still be moist. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan.
If the tomatoes will be stored, layer them in a storage container and pour the oil remaining in the pan over the top. If the tomatoes are to be used in a dish, such as pasta, they can be cut into the desired shaped and added cold to the dish. As an accompaniment to another dish, the tomatoes can be re-warmed in a 325°F oven before serving.