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. This is ridiculously good. I want to make some shelf stable cans of this. Do you think I could just follow tomato sauce canning guidelines?

    1. Brett: Yes, if you follow the guidelines for tomato sauce with meat, i.e., pressure canning it. The oil will lower the acidity enough to make it unsafe for water bath canning. But it will keep in the fridge for many months.

  2. Made this using only rosemary for herb because I love the combination. Used it on pasta and then as pizza topping with just fresh mozzarella kalamata olives and drizzled with some of the olive oil. Just divine

  3. Late summer & early fall brings with it a glut of fantastic little tomatoes! This recipe transforms that little snack into something toasty, fatty, citrusy and wonderful!

    Simple and delicious, highly recommend

  4. This is so fantastic. Good olive oil, low and slow roasting…beautiful result. The entire family loves it which is high praise for our bunch. We’re already on batch 4 and I’m putting one in the oven right now.

  5. Such a great idea! Turned out awesome over polenta. Can’t wait to try over fish. Like that I can mix up the herbs. Next batch is going on the pellet grill & frozen for future recipes.

  6. Made this yesterday with a bunch of cherry tomatoes, some chopped paste tomatoes and chopped eggplant. Threw in a few shallots I had lying around too and used thyme, oregano and aleppo pepper. It’s delicious – and what a great way to use up those cherry tomatoes I never know what to do with!

  7. thanks i have done something similar for awhile , so versatile … i also add 1 tbs sugar … adds just something else.

    Arthur (Sydeny, Australia)

  8. When I read the cherry tomato tart recipe, I wondered about the race between cooking down the tomatoes and burning the pie crust. I might pick tomatoes this morning, confit, then pie this afternoon. I’ve also saved 20 g of bacon fat from this morning to go into the crust.

  9. Hank, this sounds simply amazing! Question, could one puree it and hot water bath it and can it?

  10. I have done this for years. You can also put it small freezer jars or like size plastic containers, lightly cover with olive oil and freeze. Keeps for months that way.

  11. Once I read that you are to roast the tomatoes at 225, I immediately thought of using my pellet smoker. Have you tried this dish with the smoker? Would the addition of wood smoke add to the dish?

    1. Ricky: Yes, that’s a great idea, although you might have to dedicate a pan for it, since the smoke will coat the pan, too. Hard to clean afterward.

    2. I smoke tomatoes on the pellet grill all the time but have never done a “confit” method. The smoked tomatoes are awesome & I freeze extra for winter recipes.