May 1st, 2006
Saturday was a cold and blustery day. Ian was off at his grandparents house for a few days, and the house was quiet and fairly serene (it's amazing how much less noise a 6 year old makes when you remove his little brother from the equation). So Jay and I went and saw a movie, and we puttered around in the kitchen. We made a couple of things out of Mollie Katzen's book Salad People, a cookbook designed for cooking with your kids, which was fun even if Jay wouldn't eat the finished product.
Due to recent CSA largesse, I found myself with about five heads of garlic and a bunch of ripe plum tomatoes. Jim was agitating for baked garlic, so I made some of that and decided to oven-roast the tomatoes. I've made and posted Sally Vargas' yummy oven-roasted tomato recipe, but I wanted to try something different. What would I find to post about here if I started repeating recipes just because I like them?
I've had my eye on an Alain Ducasse recipe for Confit Tomatoes in which the tomatoes get cooked at a very low temperature for a relatively short time (two and a half hours, I did say it was relative), so they never get to the leathery hard stage of sun-dried or regular oven-roasted tomatoes. Instead you end up with silky, savory tomatoes that are more the consistency of a roasted bell pepper once it has been stripped of its skin. Because a lot of the moisture is left in they are much more perishable than the drier kind, but I don't think I'll have any left at the end of the week anyway.
This recipe is kind of fiddly - remove the germ from the garlic cloves, individually drizzle each tomato piece with oil, etc. - but there's nothing difficult about it, and I found myself moving very slowly, happily getting into the persnickety details. My only notes would be that he says to blanch the tomatoes for 15 seconds, which worked great for my very ripe specimens, but not as well for those that were a little harder. They needed more like 30 seconds in order for the skins to peel off easily, so you might want to adjust the blanching time depending on the ripeness of your fruit.
For dinner we had little herb toasts brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven until crispy, topped with roasted garlic and these silky tomatoes scented with thyme. It was delicious, a summery antidote to the spring storm outside.
Confit Tomatoes (from The Washington Post)