Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tomatoes Confit

What do you do with 15 Lb of tomatoes? That's the amount we've been getting from our CSA lately on weekly basis. Some people make sauce, some put them in cans for the winter. I make tomatoes confit. It's an idea I got from Saveur couple of years ago and fell madly in love with it. It's one of those cool techniques that makes the tomato taste even more tomatoey, more pure and distilled. Confit is the technique of cooking something slowly in fat to preserve it. Traditionally, the fat is duck or goose fat. But in case of tomatoes, it's olive oil. These tomatoes keep well in the fridge for quite some time. I've never had them last more than 2 weeks just because it's so tempting to add them to fish, pasta, gnocchi, and my absolute favorite, on slices of rustic bread with buffalo milk mozzarella and basil. But I imagine they can last longer than that, and would probably even freeze well.

5 Lb tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt (or 3/4 Tbsp table salt)
1 tsp sugar
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 sprigs of oregano or rosemary
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional -- only needed if tomatoes aren't very ripe)
  1. Set a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop tomatoes in water a few at a time for 10 seconds. Remove tomatoes from water with a slotted spoon and set aside until all tomatoes are blanched this way. Make a small, shallow cross on the bottom of each tomato to break its skin and slip the skins off. Remove the green part where the stem was attached with a paring knife. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator) and scoop out the seeds with your fingers.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250F. Combine salt and sugar and mix well.
  3. Lay out tomatoes in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet cut side down. Sprinkle with half the salt and sugar. Turn tomatoes over and sprinkle with remaining salt and sugar.
  4. Lay the garlic cloves and oregano or rosemary sprigs between tomatoes.
  5. Combine oil and balsamic vinegar and drizzle over tomatoes.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven cut side up for 1 hour. Turn tomatoes over using 2 spoons (they'll be fragile). Don't worry if some break -- they'll still taste great. Return tomatoes to the oven for another 3 hours or until they start to brown slightly.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely. Move tomatoes to a jar, cover with oil, and refrigerate. Don't worry if the oil solidifies after being in the fridge for a few days -- that's normal. Use within 4 weeks or freeze.


Kalyn Denny said...

I've been making slow roasted tomatoes like crazy too, using a slightly different method, but similar idea. Aren't they just so delish?

boris said...

Do you get this delivered from your CSA org? Which CSA do you support? I am in the area, so I'd be interested in hearing a little more about this.

Helen said...

Hi Boris,

We subscribe to Community Farms in Waltham this year.

The tomatoes from them were fantastic and very plentiful, but unfortunately, some of the other produce was not as good as it was last year from Brookfield farm CSA that is located in western MA, but deliver in Cambridge and surrounding towns.


Trevor said...

This is on my list of things to try.