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Classically, a confit is a duck cooked slowly in its own fat, but the word has taken on the meaning of almost any food cooked slowly in fat or oil. The tomatoes need to roast in a low oven for a long time, but they can be made well ahead.
These tomatoes, drained of most of the oil, would also be delicious tossed with pasta and some chunks of fresh goat cheese. Save the oil that you drain from the tomatoes and use it to make vinaigrettes or drizzle it over roasted or grilled vegetables or fish.
Preheat the oven to 225°F.
Put the tomatoes in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a Single layer. Pour the oil over the tomatoes, add the herb sprigs and garlic cloves, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, until the tomatoes are swollen and the skins are wrinkled, about 3 hours.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven, allow to cool, then pour into a small bowl. For the best flavor, cover and refrigerate overnight, bringing the confit back to room temperature when you are ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve, pour the tomatoes into a strainer set over a bowl, reserving both the tomatoes and the oil.
Place the drained tomatoes in a small bowl, discarding the herb sprigs and garlic cloves. Add the vinegar, chopped thyme, and 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil (reserving the remaining oil for another use).
Mix gently, being careful not to break up the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
A STEP AHEAD: Make the confit up to 5 days ahead and store, with the oil, covered and refrigerated The flavor improves significantly after 1 day. When you are ready to serve the confit. bring it back to room temperature, drain off the oil. and season as described.
Nutritional information is based on 10 servings and includes 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
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