Flavorful and deliciously earthy, tomato confit is a fantastic way to preserve fresh tomatoes for use in a myriad of scrumptious ways. Cherry tomatoes are slowly braised in olive oil infused with an aromatic array of garlic, lemon, fresh thyme and basil to create this tomato confit recipe, which makes for a terrific topping for fish, chicken, or crostini spread with goat cheese or ricotta!
Confit, A Delicious Way to Prepare and Preserve Tomatoes
Confit (pronounced “kon-fee”) is a wonderful French method of slow cooking and then storing a food in fat in order to preserve it for an extended length of time.
Perhaps you're familiar with duck confit, in which duck is very gently cooked at a low temperature in its own fat until tender and juicy. Then, it is allowed to cool in the fat that it was cooked in, and is then stored in it as a method of preservation.
The beautiful thing about confit is that one can use this method with any number of foods, including fresh fruit (one would use a sugar syrup in place of fat for this) and other produce.
Tomatoes are a particularly ideal item to prepare using the confit method, as their natural sweetness, juiciness and flavor gets locked in, and one can enjoy them during those times of year when perhaps they're are not quite “in season”, in a variety of delicious ways...
Tomato confit is just divine when spooned atop of grilled chicken or a white, flaky fish as a bright and colorful accompaniment.
But one of my favorite ways to enjoy confit is as a juicy topping on crostini or toasted bread, spread thickly with either goat cheese or ricotta—such a fantastic (and easy!) appetizer with wine!
My Recipe for Tomato Confit
To create the most amount of aroma and flavor for my tomato confit recipe, I like to start with sweet cherry tomatoes (I use a combo of both yellow and red), plus a few really fragrant add ins.
At its most basic, tomato confit really only requires tomatoes and a good oil (olive oil is best), but I appreciate that this method of preparation offers a terrific opportunity to impart even more flavor, which is hard to pass up.
For this I like to add a few very thinly-sliced cloves of garlic, some zest and juice of a lemon, a pinch of red pepper flakes, plus sprigs of fresh thyme and basil leaves to the tomatoes in the oil.
After adding a good sprinkle of salt and pepper to those ingredients, I simply toss things together to evenly distribute the flavors, and gently braise the tomatoes, low and slow, until they become very soft.
Here's a glance at my tomato confit recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I preheat my oven to 275°, and add my washed and dried cherry tomatoes to a small baking dish.
- Next, I add in some salt and pepper, as well as my aromatics such as the lemon zest and juice, the red pepper flakes (for kick), the garlic, and the fresh thyme and basil leaves.
- I pour over a generous amount of olive oil (since I will use it to store the tomatoes in once cooled).
- Then, I gently toss everything with a large spoon (or even my fingers) to incorporate the flavors evenly.
- The tomatoes are braised for about 1 and ½ hours, until very soft and wrinkly, but not completely broken down.
- I allow the tomato confit to cool almost completely before carefully spooning the tomatoes into jars (such as Weck or Mason jars which comes complete with lids), then covering/submerging them with the aromatic olive oil they were cooked in.
- I store my tomato confit recipe in the fridge for up to 2 months, spooning some out as needed and allowing it to come to room temp (to allow the oil to soften/liquify) before enjoying as desired.
by Ingrid Beer
Tomato confit is a delicious way to preserve fresh tomatoes, and this flavorful recipe is infused with basil, thyme, garlic, and lemon!
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Info: 252 calories (per ¼ cup serving, with oil)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes (combo of red and yellow, or just red), washed and dried
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ⅓ of a small bunch of thyme (about 3 large sprigs)
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 275°.
- Add the cherry tomatoes to a small oven-safe baking dish, and sprinkle over top the salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and thinly-sliced garlic. Scatter evenly over top the thyme and basil leaves, then pour the olive oil over everything.
- Using a large spoon, gently mix the tomatoes with the oil and other seasonings, just to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed. Place the tomatoes into the oven and slowly braised them for 1 hour and 25 minutes, just until the are soft and wrinkled, but not completely mushy and broken down.
- Remove from oven and allow things to completely cool (about 2 hours, depending on temp of your kitchen). Then, remove the thyme sprigs and the basil leaves, and gently spoon the tomatoes into clean jars that have tight-fitting lids (such as Weck or Mason jars).
- Spoon enough of the flavorful braising oil (along with any slices of garlic and red pepper flakes) over top of the tomatoes to completely cover/submerge them in their jars, and cover with the lids. Store the tomato confit in the fridge for up to 2 months.
- When ready to serve, spoon as much of the tomato confit out of the jar as you'd like to enjoy, and allow it to come to room temp for a few minutes, to liquify the cold olive oil. Spoon over chicken, fish, or serve over toasted bread slathered with ricotta or goat cheese, as an appetizer.
Tips & Tidbits for my Tomato Confit recipe:
- Combo of red and yellow cherry tomatoes for color: While you can certainly stick to one color of tomato for this delicious confit recipe, I like to use both yellow and red cherry tomatoes for a little variety. Feel free to use small cherry tomatoes, or ones that are slightly larger, whatever has the best flavor.
- Braise in lots of olive oil: I like to use an abundance of olive oil for this tomato confit, because I can then spoon the fragrant oil over top of the tomatoes once they're in their jars, enough to completely submerge them. The oil will be very aromatic from the herbs, garlic and lemon, and any small amount that you may have leftover can be stored in the fridge for use in pasta, for dipping bread, or for use in salad dressing.
- Cook low and slow: This recipe is a classic example of “braising”, which is cooking a dish in a low temperature for an extended period of time to create tenderness in the item being braised. You want to cook at 275° to slowly make the oil hot, and to gently cook the tomatoes just until softened and wrinkled.
- How to use tomato confit: These delicious, sweet-savory and earthy preserved tomatoes are absolutely delicious spooned over top of grilled or roasted chicken, or even fish. They make a terrific appetizer when spooned over top of garlic-rubbed crostini, especially when the crostini is slathered generously with some goat cheese or ricotta cheese, perhaps even topped with melted mozzarella.