I tend to bristle at the not-quite-accurate use of cooking terms. Confit means to be cooked—and then usually preserved—in its own fat.
Duck and pork are the common culinary victims to this treatment; tomatoes clearly can’t be cooked in their own fat. They can, however, be slowly cooked in scads of olive oil to great effect. We do pan and after pan of these once that chill is back in the air but the tomatoes are still rolling in. It’s a great switch after weeks (or sometimes months) of eating pristine raw tomatoes.
Note: This process makes the most of tomatoes’ flavor, so it’s not a bad option for decent, but not stellar, tomatoes that may fall into your possession.
Pack as many tomatoes as you can as tightly as you can in a single layer in a baking dish. The trick here is matching the amount of tomatoes and the size of the dish. Pour in enough olive oil you like the taste of to come about halfway up the tomatoes
Sprinkle them rather liberally with sea salt. If you want to tuck in cloves of garlic or sprigs of herbs (thyme or rosemary work particularly well) amongst the tomatoes if that sounds good. Bake the whole lot at about 300°F. until the tomatoes droop, their skins split and the tops have browned just a bit, about an hour or two depending on the size of the tomatoes. If you don’t want them to brown, take the pan out every now and again and use a spoon to gently turn the tomatoes so the skin that’s facing up changes.
Spoon them onto bread or serve them alongside a roasted chicken or some grilled fish, and be sure to save the tomato-scented oil to use to cook other dishes.
This content was published in the Fall 2012 issue of Edible San Francisco Magazine. © 2012 Edible San Francisco This website and its content is a copyrighted work of Edible Communities, Inc. © 2012. All rights reserved. You may not, except with our express written consent, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it on any other website or other electronic or printed form.
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