If you have the luxury—I mean, the problem—of too many end-of-season tomatoes, then this confit is for you. Confit is an ancient form of preservation in which perishable food is slowly cooked at a low temperature in fat and then stored in fat. It was (and is) an efficient and safe method to cook and store meat and fish that would otherwise perish. The term "confit" also applies to preserving fruits and vegetables, which may be slowly cooked in oil or a sugar syrup—a method that yields jams, chutneys, and candied fruit.
Tomato and Garlic ConfitActive time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour Yield: Makes about 2 cups
- 1 large garlic head
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds cherry or heirloom tomatoes
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or marjoram
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To roast the garlic, slice off the top of the head, about 1/4 inch. Place on a piece of foil, cut side up, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Wrap the foil up over the garlic and crimp to seal. Place in a small baking pan or on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the cloves are very soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the bulb. Remove the garlic and cool to the touch. Squeeze out the garlic cloves onto a work surface and mash to form a paste.
While the garlic roasts, cook the tomatoes: Combine the tomatoes and 1/3 cup oil in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to break down, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Add the herb sprigs and continue to cook over medium-low heat until all the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce thickens, 30 to 40 minutes more, stirring occasionally while breaking up the tomatoes with the wooden spoon.
Stir in the garlic, salt, and pepper and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to meld the flavors. Taste for seasoning.
Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. The confit may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.