What Is Confit? Confit cooking is a French method of preserving food in which ingredients are cooked slowly in their own fat. The popular dish duck confit requires roasting duck legs for hours in duck fat.
The tomato confit that we are tackling today will substitute a high-quality extra virgin olive oil in place of animal fat.
Growing up in an Italian household, I always assumed this recipe was Italian. My apologies to the French.
Preparations and ingredients
This is truly a recipe that allows for individual flare. Your choice of tomatoes, your selection of herbs, and even the inclusion and amount of garlic, onions, or shallots can be customized and adjusted to taste.
Normally when making this dish, I don’t dice the garlic, today I had a new knife, so the garlic has been cleaned and diced. An easier prep would be to take the two garlic bulbs and slice cross-wise from tip to stem in ¼” slices and distribute in your dish before adding the tomatoes. I also opted to add shallots. Get yourself a real chef's knife. The efficiency of these knives during your prep will amaze you. I added a link to one of my favorites from MAC Mighty.
Also, in the version pictured I used two Beefsteak tomatoes, 6 Roma tomatoes, and 1-pint of assorted cherry tomatoes. From the spice rack, I selected salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, and fresh basil. As I said earlier, feel free to take liberties. Spoiler alert, this mix was fantastic! Here is a comprehensive list of ingredients to consider:
3 lb. tomatoes – 6 ripe Beefsteak tomatoes or 10 ripe Roma tomatoes, skins removed
1-pint assorted cherry tomatoes (yellow and red mixed), skins removed
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
2 heads of garlic, peeled and diced or simply cross-sliced whole
2 shallots peeled and diced (or a similar quantity of your favorite onions)
6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves stripped
6 fresh bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped
3 sprigs fresh oregano leaves stripped
½ cup of basil leaves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (enough to cover ¾ of the way up the tomatoes)
Prep: 5-20 minutes Cook time: 2 hours
Remove tomatoes skin - Bring a pot of water to a boil; I use a pot with an integrated strainer. While you wait for the pot to boil ready another pot full of ice water. Gently drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Immediately transfer to the ice water, this is where the integrated strainer makes life easier. Using your hands, peel the skin off each tomato, you can run tomatoes under cold water to assist you in removing skin if needed.
Remove the peeled tomatoes from the ice water immediately and slice each large tomato in half and remove seeds. Cherry tomatoes are fine whole.
Preheat oven to 300F. I prefer using a shallow glass baking dish, but I have used a deep cookie sheet as well. If you are taking the easy way out, drizzle some olive oil on your chosen carrier and place your garlic head slices first, followed by your halved large tomatoes facing down. This should be a single layer, no higher. Fill in the remaining areas with the cherry tomatoes. Evenly distribute your chosen spice selection and diced shallots (or onions) on top. Add olive oil until the large tomato halves are ¾ submerged.
Bake for about 2 hours until the tomatoes are completely soft.
Ready for the oven:
Congratulations on your tomato confit. In oil, this dish should last 1 to 2 weeks in your refrigerator and can be frozen and stored for up to six months. I used a slotted spoon to drain some of the oil as I moved the tomatoes to a bowl and a hand mixer to blend a portion into a sauce to put over pasta for my dinner tonight. You can also use it as a condiment or as a topping for bruschetta.