This Spicy Tomato Confit recipe takes full advantage of summer’s best tomatoes, but you’ll want to enjoy this flavorful condiment year ’round. Most markets have a great selection of vine-ripened cherry or grape tomatoes that work perfectly. With the addition of chile de árbol peppers, garlic, and fresh herbs, this simple confit brightens up everything from rustic bread, to eggs, and pizza.
The word confit (pronounced “kon-FEE”) derives from the French verb confire, which simply means to preserve. Traditionally, confit simply refers to any sort of preserved food, whether it’s meat, fruit, or vegetables. This preservation takes place by slowly cooking food in a liquid that is inhospitable to bacterial growth. With fruits, this is generally a very concentrated sugar syrup*; with meats and vegetables, a pure fat.~~ Serious Eats, What the Heck is Confit?
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – What is Tomato Confit?
While the traditional confit method is often associated with meats (like duck confit), it is indeed possible to apply a similar concept to vegetables and fruits. While fruits typically involve slow-cooking the fruit in a concentrated sugar syrup (like this kumquat confit), vegetable confit involves slow-cooking vegetables in oil, typically at a low temperature, until they become tender and infused with flavor. The cooking process helps to concentrate the flavors of the vegetables and intensifies their rich and savory flavors.
The choice of oil, herbs, spices, etc. can vary based on personal preferences and the type of vegetables being used. Tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers are among the most common confit vegetables. The end product can be served as a side dish on its own, added to salads or grain bowls, or used as a flavorful topping (think salsa) for all sorts of dishes.
A more typical tomato confit recipe may include thyme, oregano, rosemary, or basil. This spicy tomato confit gets its subtle heat from chile de árbol – a small, slender chile used in Mexican cooking. The peppers are a little hotter than a jalapeño. You can remove them after roasting to minimize their heat. If you love a little heat (like we do), you can leave them in the oil when you store them. My husband eats them with the tomatoes.🔥
📋 Ingredients Notes
- small tomatoes – I like to use these cherry tomatoes. They’re plump, and the vine looks pretty in the photos. Feel free to use your favorite small tomatoes. Keep in mind the size determines the cooking time.
- extra virgin olive oil – You do not need to use “top shelf” olive oil, but it should be decent quality.
- chile de árbol – I use dried chile de árbol peppers. For perspective, they’re a little hotter than jalapeños. You can vary the number (or omit them entirely). I used about 10 peppers, and distributed them throughout the tomatoes. When I put them in the jar, the peppers were included. You may prefer to remove them. The heat in the oil is subtle, but if you include them when you serve the confit, you may feel the burn. We like the heat, so you may notice them on my rustic bread photos. Japones chiles are roughly the same size and heat level if you’re looking for a substitution.
- garlic – We love garlic! I use 2 bulbs. One of them gets cut in half, and nestled in the tomatoes for roasting. The cloves from the other one are distributed throughout, and included in the jar for storage.
- fresh herbs – In keeping with the Mexican inspiration of this tomato confit, I use fresh oregano and cilantro. I have Mediterranean oregano in my garden, but Mexican oregano would be even better.
- sea salt – I really like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes for tomato confit, but you can use the salt you prefer.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 250ºF/120ºC.
- Step 1 – Arrange the tomatoes (on or off the vine), garlic halves if using, whole cloves, and chile de árbol in the casserole dish. Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes. It does not need to cover the tomatoes, but should go about halfway. Press the chiles down into the oil. NOTE: A single layer will get the roasting done faster. My tomatoes are a little crowded, but my larger casserole dishes were too large. The larger the casserole dish will require more oil. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, and season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Step 2 – Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven. Roast until the tomatoes are starting to wrinkle but not burst. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, this will take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Cool completely.
- Store the spicy tomato confit – Remove the stems if present. Place tomatoes, chiles (if desired), and garlic in an airtight container. Cover with oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve – I like to use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and garlic from the olive oil when putting it on bread or pizza. If I’m using it in pasta, I want a fair amount of the oil tossed with the pasta.
🍅What to Serve with Confit Tomatoes?
- rustic bread – I love an Italian bread like Luciane that has a crusty exterior with a substantial interior. A smear of ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone, or even requesón makes it extra special! See photo above.
- top eggs – Whether scrambled, poached, or fried, a scoop of tomato confit will elevate this humble ingredient!
- savory french toast – I recently finished this recipe for savory french toast, and this is a fantastic topping!
- pizza – Switch out fresh or sun-dried tomatoes for tomato confit. They’re great on this ground lamb pizza.
Yes, the chile de árbol is generally considered to be fairly hot. It is a small and slender chili pepper, typically red or green when fresh, and it is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. The heat level of chile de árbol can vary, but it is generally a little hotter than a jalapeño pepper. On the Scoville Heat Scale, which measures the spiciness or heat of chili peppers, chile de árbol typically ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This chili is often used to add heat and flavor to various dishes, including salsas, sauces, and Mexican cuisine in general.
Your spicy tomato confit can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Make sure the tomatoes are covered with oil.
As a food blogger, my photos “sell” my recipes. I love the flavor bomb tomatoes for 2 reasons: 1. They look really nice in my photos. 2. They are vine-ripened, and very flavorful. However, they make a little bit more work for you when you finish the tomato confit. Some of them fall off of the vine, but some have to be pulled off. Because they are swimming in oil, this is a messy process. Feel free to use your favorite small tomatoes that are not on the vine!
Leftover olive oil is awesome in salad dressing, tossed with pasta, or as a dip for bread. Store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Determining calories and fats is not really possible because you don’t consume all the olive oil that goes into the oven with your tomatoes. The numbers in the recipe card are only a guestimate! Keep in mind olive oil is a healthy fat when consumed in moderation, and can be part of your healthy diet.
Spicy Tomato Confit
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- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes - see Ingredients Notes in post
- 1 ½ cups olive oil
- 1 bulb garlic - or more!
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs - I like cilantro and oregano
- dried chile de árbol peppers - see Ingredients Notes in post for tips
- 1 teaspoon sea salt - more or less to taste
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250ºF/120ºC.
- Arrange the tomatoes, garlic halves, garlic cloves, and chile de árbol in the casserole dish. Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes. Press the chiles and garlic down into the oil. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, and season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven. Roast until the tomatoes are starting to wrinkle but not burst (2 hours +/-). Cool completely.
- Remove the stems if present. Place tomatoes, chiles (if desired), and garlic in an airtight container. Cover with oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.