Cherry Tomato Confit

This cherry tomato confit is sweet and easy and a lovely way of preserving all those Sun Golds you planted earlier this summer. Here’s how to make it.

A Dutch oven filled with a cherry tomato confit of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, oil, and fresh basil leaves.

This cherry tomato confit is inexplicably luxurious in taste and texture. Unlike oven-roasted tomatoes, which become shriveled, intense alter egos of their former selves, cherry tomato confit—which is simply cherry tomatoes gently poached in olive oil—relax into soft, tender, subtle submission. This is the recipe that you want when you’re endowed with an overwhelming abundance of desperately ripe summer tomatoes from the garden as well as when you buy woefully lackluster tomatoes from the store that you bought in the dead of winter to satisfy a craving. As with most things that are magnificently lovely, these take some time and a little effort. It’s worth it. Originally published July 30, 2016.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Serve Cherry Tomato Confit

  • Alongside cheese and crackers
  • Gently smashed on crusty bread or crostini
  • Tossed with pasta
  • Savored straight from the spoon
  • Piled atop grilled fish, chicken, or pork
  • Spooned over vegetables
  • The infused oil, too, can be harnessed in vinaigrettes or used as a finishing sauce for steamed fish or vegetables.

Cherry Tomato Confit

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes 16 (1/4-cup) servings
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water.

Grab a sharp paring knife and score a small “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Plunge some of the tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds, reach for a slotted spoon, and immediately transfer them to the ice water. Repeat, working in batches, until all the tomatoes have been blanched.

Wait just until the cherry tomatoes are cool and then remove them from the ice water. With your fingers, gently slip the tomatoes out of their skins. [Editor’s Note: This is a touch tedious and is going to take some time. Consider it an opportunity to zen out to the repetitive, some would say meditative, action. It will be worth it.] Toss the tomato skins in the compost and place the tomatoes in a single layer in a baking dish or roasting pan, preferably one in which the tomatoes fit snugly. (An 8-by-11-inch baking dish should work well.) Pour as much olive oil as needed over the tomatoes to completely submerge them. Add the garlic, basil and/or thyme, if using, and salt. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. When the tomatoes are done, the oil will be hot but the tomatoes will remain vibrant and whole. Uncover and let the tomatoes cool completely in the oil.

Gently transfer the cherry tomato confit, including the olive oil, garlic, and herbs, if using, into a 1-quart jar or other airtight container. Cover and stash the cherty tomato confit in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Each time you scoop some of the confit out to serve, you want to ensure that the remaining tomatoes are kept completely covered with olive oil, adding fresh olive oil if needed.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

OK, here’s the deal, even though it is slightly obnoxious peeling all those tomatoes, it's worth it! In the past when I’ve roasted whole cherry tomatoes with the skins on, I find that you run the risk of biting into one and having hot juices squirt all over your mouth, but with the peeled ones there just wasn’t the danger of that happening, they actually melt in your mouth! This tomato confit is delicious. I could have eaten a bowlful of just this for lunch. I halved the recipe because I only had one pint of tomatoes, and it took me about 25 minutes to score, blanch, and peel the suckers, so double your time if you do the full recipe. I do think the practice of scoring an “x” in the bottom of the tomato could be revised to just make one slit. The “x” effectively divides the tomato skin into 4 sections, therefore it took me four tries to peel the skin off. I am thinking if you make just one slit in the bottom of the tomato the skin would only be divided into 2 pieces, which would make it easier to slip the peel off half the tomato at a time, speeding up the process a bit. I didn’t have any more tomatoes to check this out with but I suspect it would work. I did not use an ice-bath to cool the tomatoes, they are so small, and in the hot water so briefly that cold-tap water did the job just fine. I made myself an avocado toast for lunch, and spooned the tomatoes and oil on top, it was divine! For dinner I used the rest of them up by slow-roasting a small fillet of salmon in the same au gratin dish in which I roasted the tomatoes. I slipped the piece of fish under the tomatoes and oil and covered it with parchment paper to steam or poach in the oil. Really, I can’t think of a better way to enliven previously frozen salmon in winter when fresh just isn’t available. I do recommend that you make sure to include one of the optional herbs listed. I used fresh thyme and it was lovely.

Part of me wishes I'd had this recipe last summer when my CSA was giving me a weekly supply of the sweetest Sun Gold tomatoes I've ever tasted. Oh, they would have been good prepared this way, that is for sure. But another part of me wishes I'd never seen this recipe at all. Why? It's delicious, even with supermarket cherry tomatoes—that's the good news. But the bad news is that blanching and peeling cherry tomatoes is a royal pain, and it's not a step you can skip. The reward for your labor is a jar full of perfectly seasoned, tender orbs of tomato goodness. I used both the basil and the thyme, and both flavors came through in the oil and tomatoes, as did the garlic. Using just one herb would also be good, and using fresh oregano or marjoram might make a nice variation. My tomatoes fit into an 8-by-11-inch baking dish with room to spare and 2 cups olive oil was more than enough to cover them. If you optimize your pan size for the quantity of tomatoes, you could probably get by with 1/2 cup less olive oil. The cooking time and temperature worked perfectly to give me tomatoes that had intensified in flavor and absorbed the seasoning but still held their shape. I had some of the tomatoes over cheese and crackers. Then the next morning I spooned some onto my breakfast grits along with a drizzle of the flavorful oil. Scrumptious! You really get a two-fer with this recipe as the oil is very tasty and can be brushed on bruschetta or used to sauté vegetables. As good as this was with supermarket tomatoes, I'm making plans to revisit it with perfectly ripe Sun Golds.

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Comments

  1. I made these for the first and last time with my mom a year ago. I was visiting my parents and brother in Pico when my brother showed up with a bowl of beautifully round cherry tomatoes. I remembered seeing this recipe so I set out to impress… my mom was not impressed… she commented on my patience which I had to remind her I had inherited from “my mom”… adding insult to injury, while the tomatoes were in the toaster oven ( that’s what I had to work with), I made a black pizza dough using culinary charcoal. My mom, in an AD wittiness moment challenged me to just add some weeds to my creation and so I did!
    … Black lava pizza crust with São Jorge cheese, confit cherry tomatoes ( glistening red jewels of tasty and creamy satisfaction!) and some garden purslane… I’ll never forget the gleam in her eyes when she admitted that my creation was not so bad… I did impress her, afterall! … oh how I wish I could share her kitchen with her again!
    Thank you for the recipe! Thank you for the memories!

    1. Ilda, that is such a lovely memory and certainly one to cherish. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    1. Janet, I like the way you’re thinking! I haven’t tried freezing these so I can’t say for certain, although yes, I think the tomatoes could be frozen. Just be careful to keep the tomatoes submerged in the olive oil. The texture of the thawed cherry tomato confit may be slightly mushier than usual due to moisture from freezing, but other than that I think the taste will still be lovely. Let us know how it goes!

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