My Mother in Law’s Famous Slow Roasted Tomato Confit
They are sweet and savoury with an inkling of tang, elements of bold umami and mellow garlic, and a meaty caramelized texture. They have full depth of flavour and a buttery sticky-sweet mouthfeel. I’ve never tasted anything like them. You really just can’t understand how good a tomato can taste until you try this method.
Prep Time:50 minutes
Cook Time:4 hours
Total Time:4 hours 50 minutes
Yield:1 litre jar 1x
2kg plum tomatoes like Roma
2 whole bulbs of garlic
1.5 – 2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon each fresh chopped oregano and basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 120 C / 250 F.
Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Cut two perpendicular lines on the stem end of each tomato with a sharp knife. Drop each tomato in the boiling water for 15 – 20 seconds and then remove to the bowl of ice water. The skins should peel right off. If they don’t blanche again. After blanching cut each tomato lengthwise into consistent slices approximately 2 cm / 1 inch thick and use your hands to gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the tomatoes. Line the sheet pans with clean dishcloths or paper towel and lay out the tomatoes. Salt them and leave them to release more liquid while you prepare the oil.
Prepare the garlic & herb oil: Clean and mince or mash the garlic and add it to the oil along with any fresh chopped or dried herbs and spices you’re using. Mix well with a spoon and let sit about 5 minutes.
Stuff the tomatoes: Put the tomatoes in a bowl while you remove the wet dishcloths/paper towels and replace them with parchment paper. You could also use aluminium foil but it may stick. Use a spoon to stuff each tomato with the garlic and herb oil. If you run out, make another batch. Any extra can be stored in a jar in the fridge and used next time you make a roast or pasta for example.
Cook the tomatoes: Start the tomatoes at 120 C / 250 F. Cook for about 2 hours and then check how far they’ve reduced and browned. If it seems to be taking too long, you can up the heat to 150 C / 250 F like I did. Cook between 4 – 6 hours until the tomatoes are reduced and caramelized.
A note on cooking temperature: I’ve found that a range between 120 – 150 C / 250 – 300 F for about 4 to 6 hours is ideal for these tomatoes. Being on the lower end of that range will slow down the process (6 hours) and being on the higher end will speed it up (4 hours).