Summer is here and it's the perfect time to try out some seasonal recipes using the bounty from your farmer's market, CSA, or your own garden. If you have an abundance of juicy, ripe tomatoes, try making an exquisite tomato confit as an alternative to sauces and soups. This richly flavored savory tapenade made with slow-baked tomatoes packed in olive oil will have you relishing summer for months to come. Read on to learn how you can make your own tomato confit, and three delicious ways to serve it.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
- 2-3 pounds of Roma or cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 sprig rosemary (or use basil, thyme, or oregano)
- Olive Oil
- Clean recycled glass jars with lids
- Cookie sheet or baking pan, lined with parchment paper
- Timer, knife, and cutting board
Step 2: Peel Tomatoes
If using cherry tomatoes, no need to peel them. Simply move on to Step 3. If using Roma tomatoes (like we did here), set a pot of water on to boil with enough water to cover the tomatoes. While the water is heating, pre-heat your oven to 325°F and line the baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Score the bottom of the tomatoes with a sharp knife, creating an “X” shape. Once the water comes to a boil, add the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes sit in the boiling water for about 30 seconds or until you start to see the skin curling and peeling from the cuts.
Pour the contents of the pot into a colander, drain and rinse the tomatoes in very cold water for a minute. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, use a knife or your fingers to carefully peel the skin off and discard.
Step 3: Season and Bake Tomatoes
Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut out the cores (the hard bit where the stem comes out) and discard. If you’re using cherry tomatoes, simply cut them in half and place them on the parchment paper, cut side down. For the Roma tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then again to create quarters. Remove excess seeds and pulp and set aside (you can add it to a cucumber and feta salad if you want to re-use it). Place the tomato quarters cut-side down on the parchment paper.
Thinly slice 2 cloves garlic and remove the rosemary leaves from the stem. If you prefer, you can choose a different herb, such as oregano or thyme. Distribute the seasonings evenly across the cut tomatoes. Next, sprinkle the entire pan of tomatoes with a generous pinch of salt. Finally, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil. Place the pan in the oven (at 325°F) and set a timer for 50 minutes.
Check the tomatoes after 50 minutes and if they still seem quite juicy, you can bake them for another half-hour or so. You want them to be just beginning to shrivel, but still moist.
Step 4: Pack Tomatoes
Let the tomatoes cool for 10-15 minutes and then pack them into cleaned glass jars.
Pour any remaining olive oil and spices from the baking pan over them, then top off the jar with additional olive oil. Enjoy the confit immediately, or keep refrigerated for future use.
Step 5: Serve it up!
There are many ways to enjoy tomato confit – as a condiment, a sauce, inside a sandwich, or spooned straight out of the jar. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy it:
1. Create crusty bruschetta for a dinner party:
Toast slices of baguette drizzled in olive oil and rubbed with a clove of garlic. Once toasty brown, top each slice with a spoonful of diced tomato confit and sprinkle with sea salt.
2. Add it to hearty homemade polenta:
Serve creamy polenta into a bowl, then top with arugula and a generous spoonful of tomato confit. Add freshly grated pecorino (optional).
3. Make a tasty appetizer:
Dice a few tablespoons of tomato confit and spoon it over fresh goat cheese, or your favorite vegan alternative. Snip fresh basil on top. Serve with crackers or toast.
All photos by Emily Peckenham for Inhabitat