Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grape Tomato Confit

A little more than a week ago I attended a cooking demonstration. One of the dishes prepared was a stuffed flank steak, which was delicious--but for me, the real wow factor of the dish was the topping: tomato confit.

This was so unbelievably easy to make that it really can't be called a recipe. There's no reason not to enjoy this on a regular basis--especially when tomato season is in full swing and your garden is bursting with bright red orbs just waiting to be used.

So what is a confit, exactly? According to Wisegeek, it's a method of cooking something in fat--usually meats and poultry (we've all heard of duck confit), but also vegetables to achieve almost a jam-like consistency.

And the flavor--oh, it just melts in your mouth. It made every bite of my delicious butter-braised steak an adventure. It took a plain-old steak and turned it into something special. The fruit retains it's natural flavor and gains a certain creaminess; there's definitely a tang, too, from the vinegar. I can imagine it over a grilled chicken breast, or served warm on a big green salad.

Grape Tomato Confit

1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and patted dry
about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
a couple of generous pinches kosher salt
several grinds freshly ground black pepper
pinch dried thyme
about 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a small skillet or saucepan, cover tomatoes with oil enough that they're all bathed in it, with some tops exposed. Set over medium-low heat and leave them to come up to temperature. When the oil begins to sizzle, add salt, pepper and dried thyme. Continue to cook until you hear the tomatoes begin to pop. Let several pop before removing from heat--you want most of them to have visibly wrinkly skin, but not all of them should explode. Pour vinegar over and gently stir beofre letting cool. Serve over your favorite steak, chicken or anything you like.

Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days--however the oil will harden so be sure to keep the tomatoes in a container that can be heated.


Sara said...

I've never made tomato confit before, but I've seen a lot of recipes for it. I definitely need to try!

Sam said...

That does sound good, I bet this would be delicious with fish too.

Amanda said...

Sara, you definitely should! I bet a melange of different colored small tomatoes would be beautiful.

Sam, you're absolutely right--it would be fantastic with fish!

Andy said...

Great post. I never knew what a confit actually was. It's a lot easier than I expected!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Andy. I didn't know before this, myself!

Dragon said...

The tomato confit sounds delish!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Dragon! It was yummy. :)

Anonymous said...

Tomato confit sounds delightful. It's such a great way to enjoy tomatoes even when they are out of season. I am always jonesing for them in the winter!

Amanda said...

Hi, Haleysuzanne, thanks for your comment. To be perfectly honest, I had not considered the confit process as preservation method for the tomatoes. I just eat them within a few days!

I wonder if the olive oil would work for preservation the same way duck fat does to preserve the meat? I think I'd be afraid to try that for any length of time for fear of salmonella.

Someone with canning knowledge could probably determine the best way. I always thought canning recipes need to be more on the acidic side, but I could be wrong.

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