If you have some ripe tomatoes, then you’re halfway to the best end-of-summer dish out there! Tomato confit is honestly one of the best tomato recipes ever.
Tomato confit is super easy to make and is out-of-this-world good. Best of all, the entire tomato confit recipe can be made with just a few simple ingredients.
Tomato Confit is incredible and only takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time.
Plus, it makes your entire house smell amazing!
What is tomato confit? Tomato confit is a dish of slow-cooked tomatoes in olive oil, typically with shallots, garlic, and herbs. In short, it’s a big pot of chopped fresh tomatoes with a few onions or onion-y things (I used a shallot), a few cloves of garlic, and some fresh herbs (I used thyme) that get covered in extra virgin olive oil, a big sprinkle of sea salt, fresh pepper, then set to cook low and slow in the oven for about four hours.
The result is a magic caramelized tomato dish that you can spoon onto toasty sourdough bread (hellllllo Tomato Confit Bruschetta).
Here are the tomatoes and thyme I pulled from my garden today (pretty, aren’t they?!):
How do I use tomato confit? Serve tomato confit on top of a toasted baguette, or blend it up to use as a pasta sauce, serve it over chicken, fish or veggies, or eat straight up plain. It’s a do-it-all kind of dish.
This tomato confit recipe would be wonderful to prepare the afternoon before guests come over—if you make it in a nice-looking pot or dutch oven you can take it from oven to table to serve as a pre-dinner snack. Just put out some big pieces of toasted bread and/or some veggies and maybe some olives and catch up with friends.
Ideas to Serve Your Tomato Confit:
- For a pre-dinner snack bruschetta-style: slice 1-inch pieces off of an all-natural sourdough loaf and toast ’em up. Spoon on top or dip the bread right in the pot.
- Spoon a few tablespoons on top of roasted chicken or fish right out of the oven.
- Serve it as a side dish for just about any hearty meal.
- As a pasta sauce: In the last 30 minutes while your tomato confit cooks, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, salt the water with a big tablespoon of salt. Cook 12-16 ounces (usually a package) of long-cut pasta (I use fettuccini) until al dente, about 1 minute shy of the cooking instructions. When your tomato confit comes out of the oven, add your al dente pasta right to the pot and use tongs to mix it all into a sauce. Add a few tablespoons of the starchy pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it up.
How to Make Tomato Confit:
Step 1: Prepare the tomatoes; you can find detailed instructions below in the recipe card.
Step 2: Add your tomatoes, garlic, shallot or onions, thyme, salt, and pepper to a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot with a lid. Drizzle in enough extra virgin olive oil to come about 1/2 way to 3/4 way up the tomatoes.
Step 3: Roast at a low temperature (300°F/149°C) for 2 hours covered, then remove the lid and cook another 1-2 hours until everything is cooked down and a deep golden brown. It should look like this:
Tomato Confit Tips
- Tomato confit must be made with fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes have their place in other recipes, but will not caramelize or yield the same result. Use fresh, ripe, unpeeled tomatoes. The heirloom varieties are particularly good here, so grab them up in early fall when they go on sale big time, or when you have the last tomatoes from your garden starting to turn.
- Be generous with the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)—the tomatoes need a lot to cook. Use enough to come about a quarter to a half an inch up the base of the bottom tomatoes in the pot – that will be about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Save any extra EVOO from the bottom of the pot in the fridge for a few weeks and add to sauces or soups. There probably won’t be any left, but if there is save it and use it. #nowaste
- Let the tomatoes stand out. A few cloves of garlic, 1 large or two small shallots, and one type of herb are all you need to make tomato confit. Less is more here. And while I love basil, thyme holds up better in a long slow roast like this. Save your basil if you want to blend up your confit into a sauce for a second use.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge for about a week, and freeze any leftovers after that for up to 3 months.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Don’t forget the salt! Salt not only flavors everything, but salt helps pull out the water which helps them caramelize and cook down.
- Don’t use unripe or under-ripe tomatoes. They have no flavor.
- Don’t use tomatoes that have gone bad—while tomato confit is perfect for tomatoes that are slightly bruised, ugly, or about to go bad, if it’s moldy or has already gone bad don’t use it.
- Don’t poach or peel your tomatoes first. Simply clean them off if you need to, core any big ones, and slice the small ones in half.
Tomato confit looks and tastes gourmet, but it’s incredibly easy to make—the oven does all of the work for you. Grab all of your ripe end-of-summer tomatoes and make a big pot of this delicious tomato confit. Serve it with crusty bread to impress your friends, or spoon it on top of chicken or fish. It freezes well, so don’t be shy with how much you make.
- 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, remove the cores of thick ones and chop the large ones; leave small ones whole
- 1 large or two small shallots (substitute any onion if needed)
- 2–3 cloves of garlic, smashed open and skins discarded
- 4–5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt (more or less to taste)
- a few spins of freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
- optional: a pinch of red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Clean the tomatoes if they need it and remove the stems. Core the large ones and chop into 1-to-2-inch pieces. Slice the smaller ones in half. Throw grape or cherry tomatoes in whole.
- Peel and slice the shallot(s) into 3-5 long pieces. Smash open the garlic cloves and discard the skins.
- Place the tomatoes, shallots, and garlic in a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven (I use a 6-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven). Avoid cast-iron that is not coated in enamel because the acid in the tomatoes will react to it.
- Drizzle the olive oil on top until it comes up about 1/4 to 1/2 inch up the side of the tomatoes on the bottom. This will be about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and a bit of black pepper. Add a pinch of pepper flakes if you want. Remove the thyme leaves from a few sprigs and sprinkle them around, then place a few whole sprigs on top.
- Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the lid and cook another 1-2 hours until the tomatoes are broken down and caramelized. Your confit is done when the tomatoes are a deep golden color. The entire process will take 3-4 hours depending on how much liquid was in your tomatoes; this varies per batch! Check it at 3 hours and let it cook another hour or so until the tomatoes are a deep golden color and the garlic and shallots are falling apart. See the image above for reference.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes—they are hot! Serve immediately with toasty sourdough bread, on top of chicken or fish, or as a side dish. Let it come to room temperature if saving. Save any leftovers in an airtight glass container in the fridge up to a week, or in the freezer in a freezer-safe container up to 3 months.
Keywords: Tomato confit, confit, cooked tomatoes