This classic French preservation method is a great way to preserve summer tomato goodness! Try Tomato Confit on grilled bread, on charcuterie boards, in pasta, as a way to bump up the flavor of jarred marinara or on salads for a taste of summer all year long!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
When you don’t know what else to do with a summer tomato bounty, this is a lovely way to preserve some of that REAL tomato flavor. This recipe is adapted from one by Daniel Boulud so you know it has to be good!
Although small tomatoes such as cherry or grape are generally used, this Tomato Confit recipe uses plum (or Roma) tomatoes cooked with herbs, garlic and a touch of sugar which helps to caramelize the tomatoes. I used plum tomatoes because we had a plum tomato bounty and they’re low-moisture.
Slow-roasting also concentrates the flavor of the tomato–much like a sun-dried tomato but without the leathery texture and cloying sweetness.
What is confit?
Pronounced con-FEE, this French adjective basically means “preserved.” Often used with duck, this preservation method takes place by slowly cooking food in a liquid that’s inhospitable to bacteria such as pure fat. This method can also be applied to fruits and vegetables. For tons more information on everything confit, here’s an article from Serious Eats.
- Fresh Herbs: Here’s where you definitely want to use fresh herbs. Dried herbs will only dry more.
- Olive Oil: You don’t have to go all out here because the oil will be heated. Just use a decent extra-virgin olive oil for the slow-roasting. If storing the tomatoes in a jar and using within a short period of time, drizzle the confited tomatoes with the best olive oil you have.
- Tomatoes: Use plum (Roma) tomatoes that are ripe yet still firm. Overripe tomatoes will be difficult to work with.
- Gather, prep and measure out all the ingredients.
- Start by removing the skin from the tomatoes.
- Prepare an ice bath then bring a saucepan of water to a boil.
- Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato then carefully drop it into the boiling water.
- Give it about 20-30 seconds or until you can see the skin begin to peel away from the tomato.
- Immerse into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Remove the skins, cut in half and remove the seeds.
- Place the tomato halves on a baking sheet then drizzle with olive oil. Add the thyme, bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar, tucking them in and under the tomatoes.
- Place in the oven at 275 degrees and slow roast for 1 ½ hours, opening the door slightly once or twice to allow for any accumulated steam to escape.
- At 1 ½ hours, they should look like this…
- Flip then continue roasting at 275 degrees for another 1 ½ hours.
- They should then be deep red in color and beatifully soft.
- Let cool then transfer to a jar.
- Drizzle with a great olive oil to cover then refrigerate.
- Refrigerate up to 6-7 days. Afterward, divide into small portions and freeze.
Chef Tips and Tips:
- The tomatoes should be ripe yet still firm. If you use overripe tomatoes, they’ll be difficult to work with.
- At least twice during the confit process, open the oven door slightly to allow any steam that has built up in the oven to be released.
Frequently Asked Questions:
6-7 days is the limit as with most cooked food. After that, simply divide it up into small portions and place in small snack-size zipper-top bags or other small airtight containers and place in the freezer.
Use anywhere you want a concentrated tomato flavor. Uses include salads, pasta, add to purchased tomato sauce to improve the flavor, crostini, charcuterie or antipasto boards and mashed as a “whole” form of tomato paste.
More ways to preserve summer tomato goodness!
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- 20 Roma (plum) tomatoes ripe but firm, approximately 3 pounds
- 8 large cloves garlic peeled and sliced into thick slices
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to preference
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for storing tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a small, shallow "X" in the bottom of each tomato.
- Carefully drop the tomatoes, 5-6 at a time into the boiling water and cook 20-30 seconds or until the skin begins to loosen around the "X" in the bottom of each tomato. Transfer to the ice bath and repeat with the remaining tomatoes.
- Peel the tomatoes and discard the skins. Blot dry on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Slice each tomato in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Scatter the sliced garlic and half the thyme over a large, rimmed baking sheet.
- Season the cut side of the tomatoes with salt and black pepper then arrange them, cut side down over the garlic and thyme.
- Tuck the bay leaves around the tomatoes then drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, making sure each one is coated with oil. (A pastry brush helps.)
- Season with a little more salt and black pepper, the remaining thyme leaves and the sugar.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 ½ hours. Open the door slightly 1-2 times just to release some of the moisture that will build-up in the oven.
- Flip the tomatoes and bake another 1 ½ hours. Open the door slightly 1-2 times just to release some of the moisture that will build up in the oven. The tomatoes should be very tender, shriveled but still hold their shape.
- Let cool to room temperature. Place in an airtight container and pour olive oil over the top. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.
- Chop and add to purchased tomato sauce to improve the flavor
- Charcuterie or antipasto boards
- Mashed as a “whole” form of tomato paste
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.