If I had to choose how I wanted to eat tomatoes for the rest of my life, there would be no question: it is tomato confit. There is no better way to extract the umami flavor in tomatoes than to cook them slowly in the oven in fat. Add some garlic, dried herbs, and, of course, chilies (do you even know me?), and you have a spectacular, versatile tomatoes that can be eaten in countless ways. In terms of difficulty, this tomato confit is as easy as it gets.
If you are new to the world of confit, you aren’t alone. It is a French term that simply means cooking something slowly in fat. While we traditionally have seen things like duck confit and other meats cooked slowly in their own fat, you can confit a ton of other things. In this case, we take tomatoes and whole heads of garlic with dried herbs and chilies and slowly cook them in extra virgin olive oil. The result is soft, sweet tomatoes with a TON of umami.
How is this different from roasting tomatoes, such as in my roasted tomatoes in the Creamy Calabrian Orzo recipe? Roasting is typically done at a much higher temperature, around 400-425°F, for a shorter amount of time, not to mention using a whole lot less oil. With tomato confit, we don’t completely submerge the tomatoes, but we get pretty close.
You may be asking, why is this section so far up. If you have visited my site previously then you know storing and reheating typically is the last section before you hit the recipe card, except when storing is a critical part of making this recipe.
This tomato confit is made with a good amount of garlic, and if you know anything about storing garlic confit then you know improper storage can lead to Botulism. Garlic is a low acid vegetable, when stored in oil at a warm temperature there is a risk. Botulism can form at a PH of 4.6 and higher, garlic sits around 5.3 and 6.3 where the tomatoes sit around a 4.5. If this was purely a tomato confit no garlic there would be less of a risk, and also it would be less delicious. Once the garlic has come down to room temperature place in a CLEAN airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Do not let it sit at room temperature for an extended period of time. Store in the fridge and consume within 5 days, it would probably stay good for 1- 1 1/2 weeks but it is always better to stay on the conservative side. For further information on Botulism please visit HERE.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR TOMATO CONFIT
Grape or Cherry Tomatoes – The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need to wait for tomato season. This tomato confit uses grape or cherry tomatoes which you can find all year round, and are also more cost effective.
Garlic Bulbs – Left whole, with their tops cut off.
Dried Herbs – I used an equal parts combination of Lemon Thyme, Sweet Basil, and Oregano. If you have an Italian mix that has all three of these in there feel free to use that.
WholeCalabrian Chilies – Bring on the heat! A little goes a long way, start with 4-5 if you want mild-medium heat, 7-8 if you want it spicier. The recipe calls for whole Calabrian chilies instead of crushed because ultimately you are looking for just the flavor. Technically these chilies are optional. You could make this dish without it, but trust me when I say it is better with a kick of heat.
EVOO – Use a mild EVOO to allow the tomato and garlic flavor shine though.
Large Baking Dish – This recipe calls for 2 pints of tomatoes and 3-4 garlic heads, it is a lot. At max you want 2 layers of tomatoes when they are sliced in half. Get a big enough baking dish to hold everything.
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO CONFIT
Prep the Ingredients – Start by cutting off the tops of the garlic so that the bulbs are exposed. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, and place everything in a large baking dish with the bulbs facing up. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and equal parts thyme, basil, and oregano (approximately 3/4 – 1 teaspoon of each).
Layer in the Calabrian chilies and pour in the olive oil, making sure not to miss pouring it over the garlic bulbs. You’re aiming to not submerge the tomatoes entirely; pour until they are 3/4th submerged.
Roast for 1 Hour – Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour. When done, the garlic should be soft but not mushy, and the tomatoes should be wilted and jammy.
HOW TO SERVE TOMATO CONFIT
There are countless uses for this versatile dish. Below are just a few ways I love to use these sweet jammy tomatoes.
Toast – As pictured! Take a crispy piece of sourdough bread and spread a generous amount of salted butter, the good kind you only eat on bread. Take a few of the garlic confit cloves and smash them, followed by ladling over a good amount of tomatoes. Top with sea salt.
Pizza or Flatbread – Whether it is homemade or not, this tomato confit is a great topping for pizza. If you don’t want to top it with the tomatoes try drizzling the spicy umami oil.
Eggs – Cook your eggs in this flavorful oil… trust me.
Grain Bowls – These soft, melt-in-your-mouth tomatoes make an excellent topping for grain bowls. Drizzle a little bit of the oil to replace a dressing.
Cheese Board – An easy way to elevate any cheese board. I mean, hand me some crispy bread, crackers, and this tomato confit, and I am one happy girl.
Pasta – Imagine pasta tossed in this? Yeah I will leave you with that.
Dips – Got some hummus that needs spicing up? How about some labneh?
I absolutely love ladling tomato confit over dips. Below are a some good options to do that with.
Sweet, jammy, melt in your mouth tomato confit. Slow cooked tomatoes in EVOO, spices, chilies, and garlic.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword Confit, Garlic Confit
Prep Time 5 minutesmins
Cook Time 1 hourhr
Total Time 1 hourhr5 minutesmins
1 baking dish
2pintsgrape or cherry tomatoescut in half
3-4bulbsgarlictops chopped off to expose the cloves
4-5whole Calabrian chilies
1+cupolive oilmild EVOO
Start by cutting off the tops of the garlic so that the bulbs are exposed. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, and place everything in a large baking dish with the bulbs facing up.
Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and equal parts thyme, basil, and oregano.
Layer in the Calabrian chilies and pour in the olive oil, making sure not to miss pouring it over the garlic bulbs. You're aiming to not submerge the tomatoes entirely; pour until they are 3/4th submerged. Depending on the size of your pan this might be 1+ cups of olive oil.
Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour, until the garlic is soft and the tomatoes are wilted and jammy.
Storing is critical for this recipe, please read the body of this post for storing safety and instructions