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