Cherry Tomato Confit
The cherry tomato confit is a recipe that requires just minutes of prep time and then just a little patience as they cook low and slow in (quite a lot) of olive oil, which preserves their texture and shape. These tomatoes are the perfect vegetable to store in your refrigerator after the days of summer are gone. The key to the dish is ripe cherry tomatoes but more importantly, the extra virgin olive oil. Luscious sweet tomatoes and creamy buttery garlic slowly cooked to perfection and packed with tons of flavour.
What is confit?
The word confit is a French word that means ‘preserved’ and describes more of a technique then a recipe. It’s the process of preserving food. It means to slow cook in fat. In this case we are cooking Cherry tomatoes and garlic along with fresh herbs. Baking them low and slow in extra virgin olive oil renders the garlic creamy, flavorful, and even spreadable. When tomatoes are made confit, they hold their shape well and retain their natural flavour, but ooze a sweet, complex and intense flavour within which adds to the delicious flavours in the oil. The oil is wonderful to dip into and even drizzled over just about anything. A super easy condiment (or side) that can jazz up any kind of meal, whether it is pasta, grain bowls, salads or grilled meat & fish.
Ingredients to make cherry tomato confit:
- Tomatoes - I prefer to use cherry tomatoes. The plumper the better. If you’re using smaller cherry tomatoes, they’ll cook faster, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Larger tomatoes will take longer to cook.
- Garlic - I love garlic so I use a whole medium head of garlic in this recipe. This quantity is easily adjusted up or down to your garlic-loving preference. Once the garlic is roasted it literally slips out of it’s skin and becomes creamy and spreadable.
- Lemon zest - this is optional but adds a really nice flavour and brightness to the confit
- Extra virgin olive oil - Use a nice quality oil, but you don’t have to use the most expensive bottle on your shelf for this. I used Mina All Purpose, Single Origin, Moroccan Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has Less than 0.2% acidity with a Light Smooth flavour, High in antioxidant rich polyphenols. This might look like a lot of oil, particularly after cooking, but remember that the tomatoes will need to be completely submerged in the oil for storage.
- Fresh herbs and Seasonings - any fresh herbs you like can be added to the confit. A handful is plenty. Season generously with salt and pepper according to taste
- Variations and Substitutions - If your tomatoes are very tart, you can add about 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the dish when you season with salt and pepper to help
- For a little heat, sprinkle the tomatoes with a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes when seasoning.
- Feel free to add some balsamic vinegar for extra flavour
How to make tomato confit:
- Place the tomatoes into a baking dish
- Pour enough olive oil into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the tomatoes.
- Nestle the herbs and garlic into the tomatoes, and season everything with salt and pepper and sprinkling of lemon zest.
- Cook until tomatoes are tender but not fully bursted; they should be soft, but not falling apart.
- Allow to cool then enjoy right away or place in jars and store in the refrigerator.
What to eat tomato confit with:
- Swirled through pasta, risotto or polenta
- Load them up on toasted bread/crostini spread with creamy ricotta, creamy whipped feta or cream cheese
- Dress herby yoghurt with them or creamy hummus
- As a side or topping to grilled meat, chicken or fish.
- Perfect on your mezze platters
- The flavourful oil from the confit can be used to drizzle over meat or even cook or sauté veggies in or even eggs and shrimp. As you can see the options are endless.
If you liked this recipe you will love these:
- 2½ lbs cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium head of garlic, sliced in half horizontally
- 1-½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (optional but adds a really nice flavour to the confit)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed - I used Mina Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Handful of Fresh herbs of choice, I used fresh thyme and basil
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Place cherry tomatoes in a single layer in baking dish. Nestle the garlic between the tomatoes.
- Pour olive oil into the dish, so it comes about halfway up the sides of the tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper, and the lemon zest and add the fresh herbs to the baking dish.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1-½ to 2 hours (cooking time will depend on the size of the cherry tomatoes). Don’t cook the tomatoes until they’ve fully bursted; they should be soft, but not falling apart.
- Cool tomatoes in the pan until they are room temperature, then place in airtight containers or jars. Pour enough of the cooking oil over the tomatoes to submerge them. Enjoy!
- Tomato confit can be stored in a sealed container refrigerated for up to 1-2 weeks weeks. Store the tomatoes in a jar covered with the olive oil. If you have leftover olive oil you can also store it in the refrigerator and use it in cooking or salad dressings.
- It can be frozen in freezer proof containers for up to 3 months. The olive oil with harden and solidify in the refrigerator or freezer so be sure to bring tomatoes to room temperature before serving