Cherry Tomato Confit

5 from 33 votes
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Cherry tomato confit sounds a lot more esoteric than it is. Basically this is slow roasted cherry tomatoes with salt and olive oil, plus some garlic and herbs.

It is incredibly versatile as a topping for pasta, polenta, bread, rice, or mixed with grilled vegetables as a sort of sauce — it’s a fantastic way to use up a ton of cherry tomatoes.

A bowl of cherry tomato confit
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I grow several varieties of cherry tomatoes, sungolds, Mexico midgets, and sometimes others. I like the color and size variations, and I find that many supermarkets and farmer’s markets will sell either baskets of various varieties, or mixed baskets.

And while no, you don’t need multiple varieties for cherry tomato confit, it looks prettier. And summer food ought to be pretty.

The method is stupid easy.

Arrange the cherry tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet, douse with extra-virgin olive oil, scatter smashed garlic cloves all around and sprinkle salt and maybe some herbs over it. Bake at 225°F until the tomatoes collapse, which takes some time.

How long is up to you. At least 2 hours, and I would go closer to 4 or 5 hours. The longer time will concentrate flavors, break down the skins a bit, infuse the olive oil with flavor, and soften the garlic cloves.

cherry tomato confit over pasta in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I mostly use cherry tomato confit as a mega-flavorful topping for starchy-bready things like, well, bread, pizza, polenta, pasta or even rice. You can also use it as the filling in a cherry tomato tart.

Or, use it alongside a simple seared duck breast or a steak. I really like it over seared or butter poached fish. It’s amazing as a dressing of sorts for grilled zucchini, potatoes and onions.

Use your imagination. And you’ll have some time. Once made, cherry tomato confit will keep several weeks in the fridge. I like to put it in glass Mason jars. It is not shelf stable, however.

A bowl of cherry tomato confit
5 from 33 votes

Cherry Tomato Confit

Any variety of cherry tomatoes will work here, and I recommend using several, just because it's pretty. Once made, this keeps several weeks in the fridge. Keep the tomatoes covered by the olive oil.
Course: Appetizer, Condiment, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and separated
  • Salt
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, or thyme or basil or oregano

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 225°F. Arrange the tomatoes in one layer in sheet pans. Scatter the garlic cloves among them. Drizzle the olive oil over everything and sprinkle everything with salt. Set in the oven for between 2 and 5 hours.
  • When the tomatoes have collapsed and have simmered for at least 1 hour, sprinkle the herbs over everything. Turn off the heat and leave the pans in the oven. Once everything has returned to room temperature, pack into containers. This will keep several weeks in the fridge.

Notes

If you happen to have large cherry tomatoes, slice them in half. And yes, this works with large tomatoes, but you will need to chop them. 

Keys to Success

  • Ingredients matter. Use fresh tomatoes, and good olive oil. 
  • Err on cooking this longer than shorter. You want the garlic to be soft. You want the flavors to marry. 
  • Use whatever herb you like. I prefer rosemary, but oregano, marjoram, sage, mint, parsley, savory, basil, etc. are all very nice. 
  • Puree this for a crazy good pasta sauce. Or just spoon it on as is. 

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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36 Comments

  1. Love this recipe but have wondered if it’s possible to can this? I’d love to be able to add this to gift baskets with homemade jam’s and chow chow.

    1. Josh: I don’t know, sorry. But I can tell you that it’s definitely sturdy enough to survive a few days in the mail, if your friends then put it in the fridge when they get it.

  2. 3rd year making this delicious recipe. It’s a great way to use the bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. I like it with fresh rosemary and basil. I do freeze some of them because I can’t use it quickly enough.

  3. Hi Hank, I’m a long time follower of your blog and have learned a lot from you.

    Today I received wildbites #31 and was reading about Cherry Tomato Confit. In the email you mentioned that you could freeze the confit, but when I clicked on the recipe it only talks there about keeping it in the fridge for several weeks.

    What is the best way to freeze the confit, food-saver vac bags, zip-lock freezer bags? mason jars? Also how long will it keep in the freezer?

    Thanks for your response

    1. Lindsey: Yes, I would put it in a heavy freezer bag, a smaller one for portions. You could only vac seal it if you have a chamber sealer, unless you chill it enough where the olive oil has solidified.

  4. Made this on Saturday from my garden tomatoes (and some from the farmer’s market — been a tough year here for tomatoes.) Deee-liscious! Pureed most for sauce as Hank suggests. Reserved a few for texture. Sauteed some button mushrooms in the confit oil. Served over spaghetti with some added fresh basil from the garden and some sliced black olives. Pretty great Meatless Monday dinner. Which observation I usually ignore.

  5. My wife and I love this! Since the first time I made this, we keep a jar in the refrigerator while the tomatoes are producing… why not when this is such an easy and passive recipe? Great on its own over pasta, and spectacular with fish!

  6. Tried this once a few weeks ago, have made it twice since. It’s so versatile and a great way to use my tomatoes in summer. Love it on pasta

  7. Love your recipes in general but this one is phenomenal. SO much more than the sum of its parts. Thank you!!