The very first cookbook anyone ever got me was Eric Ripert’s On the Line. I was still very new to seafood, so many of the recipes seemed out of my grasp. I flipped all the way through and at the end were the garnishes and pantry items.
Tomato confit was the first recipe I tried from a book. Most of the time it was Food Network or watching people cook out of the corner of my eye. When you hear the word confit, you mostly think of duck, but in this case, it refers to the slow process of baking for a long time. The original recipe calls for a 200-degree F oven and peeled tomatoes. Why do French people hate tomato skins? I don’t know.
I took plum tomatoes, cut off the stem cap and halved them. The oven was on at its lowest setting (240 degrees F). Since my oven can’t go any lower, it balances out the fact that I’m using thick tomato pieces. Lined up in a single layer the tomato babies received a shower of salt, fresh ground pepper and a touch of olive oil. I turned the pans every hour until the tops dried out and the fruit still firm enough to hold together. The ideal result is when you take a bite, you get this concentrated tomato flavor with a bit of sweetness. The water has evaporated but enough left for a squish to leave all the goodness for you to gobble.
Any thinner slices and longer time in the oven will give you sundried tomato junk. I may hate them but if you like that sort I nonsense, it does keep pretty well in the fridge.