I love munching on super sweet orange and red cherry tomatoes. There’s nothing better than getting my fill of them popped into my mouth and in quick pasta dishes.
But then what? Maybe you’ve wondered, can I preserve cherry tomatoes?
Preserving Cherry Tomatoes
To confit is to preserve any food in a fat. When cooking meats using this method, the goal is to tenderize the meats, but with fruits and vegetables, it’s simply an age-old method of preservation.
In this case, you take cherry tomatoes and gently cook them in olive oil. Just long enough to stop their natural enzymatic activity. In other words, to arrest them in this very ideal state of flavorfulness.
It’s pretty simple, really. And so is this technique.
Using Confit Cherry Tomatoes
I baked up these simple tomato tartlets to highlight their use. For everyday, toss them with pasta and some of their oil, spread them on a slice of toast or serve with flat breads and soft cheese for an appetizer.
Or, make these tartlets with a filo crust as a celebratory end of summer. Bring out the chilled white wine or rosé one last time before fall creeps in and call a few neighbors for a toast.
When you’ve had your fill, toss your cherry tomato confits, olive oil and all, into a storage bag and put them in the freezer. Do this now and you’ll thank yourself much, much later.
Confit Cherry Tomato Tartlets
Once you have a batch of confit cherry tomatoes, there's no limit to what you can do with them: toss with cooked pasta and fresh herbs, serve on toast or freeze in storage bags for later use. For these tartlets, the oil from the confit is used to layer filo dough into muffin tins. Be as sparing as you can with the oil for the best results. These are terrific appetizers or a late-summer lunch when served with a salad.
- 1 1/2-2 pounds cherry tomatoes, stemmed
- 3 cups olive oil
- 4 cloves peeled garlic
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 package filo dough, defrosted
- 1/2 cup ricotta or goat cheese
- fresh herbs for garnish optional
- flake sea salt for serving
For the confit cherry tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer in a baking dish and pour in the olive oil. Tuck in the garlic, sprigs of thyme and rosemary and bay leaf. Bake just until the cherry tomatoes begin to split but still plump, about 30 minutes.
Set aside to cool to room temperature for storage, or to make the tartlettes.
You will have plenty of very flavorful olive oil to use for a salad dressing or a quick saute.
For the tartlettes:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and have a muffin tin and a pastry brush on hand.
Working with 1 sheet of filo at a time, lay it on a counter top lined with a silicone baking mat or a large sheet of plastic wrap.
Very lightly brush the filo with the olive oil from the confit cherry tomatoes. Fold the sheet in half and brush it lightly again. Repeat the fold twice more (into eighths) to form the sheet into a small rectangle.
Tuck the filo rectangle into one of the muffin tins, pressing it into the bottom and as evenly as you can up the sides. Repeat to fill the rest of the muffin tin.
Bake the filo tartlet cups until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining filo dough.
Fill each of the tartlet cups with 1 scant teaspoon of the ricotta or goat cheese filling. Top with 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes strained from the olive oil and garnish with additional fresh herbs and flake sea salt.
You can use this same technique to preserve fresh roma or paste tomatoes as well.