Each year, as the summer winds down and the flow of Brandywines and Zebras and Cherokee Purples dwindles to one or two scruffy fruits a week, I seem to struggle with how to keep up with the pints and pints of cherry and grape tomatoes that pick up the slack. I’ve whirred them into compound butter, I’ve puréed and frozen them for future pizzas, and I’ve pickled the unripe ones.
Last week, I tried something different: slowly poaching a box of them in olive oil with a small handful of herbs and a big handful of garlic. Jackpot. Try it spread over slices of grilled bread, spooned over a bloomy cheese, or even smooshed into a bowl of roasted spaghetti squash.
- 8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed
- 2 medium heads of garlic, peeled
- several sprigs of herbs (I used sage, rosemary, and thyme)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups olive oil
Place tomatoes, garlic cloves in a smallish saucepan. Sprinkle with salt, then layer on the herbs. Pour in the oil so that it just covers the contents.
Simmer for an hour or so, until the garlic is good and soft. Be careful not to let the mixture smoke or come to a full boil or you risk having the garlic turn bitter instead of sweet.
Let cool slowly to allow the flavors to fully infuse before you dive in. I stored my leftovers—with the intention to use them up in a couple weeks—in a lidded glass jar in the fridge. The oil solidifies when cold, so let the contents warm up to room temperature before you use them. I confess this requires forethought that I don’t always have. Know that 10-second pulses in the microwave (be sure to loosely cover the jar to avoid spattering) can bail you out in a confit emergency.
Have oil left after you’ve spooned out all the goodies? Use it to make salad dressing!