I used to ignore ovens.
When I started cooking for myself, I used a stove. I made pasta with just about anything, even with stuff waaay past its use before date. I also simmered whole chickens with some random vegetables for hours. Haute cuisine! Ew.
When you're starting college you just need energy and you don't mind eating crap.
At some point I realized I could bake cakes for my friends. And I phoned my mom to ask her about all the delicious things she used to bake. And I wanted to make muffins, and cakes. And roasted a lamb (!) once. And bought cake tins, baking dishes and cookie cutters and then replaced them with better ones.
Oh, oven, where have you been all my life?
I discovered slow cooking. And slow roasting. And homemade shortbread biscuits glazed with rum. And all the benefits of cooking in an oven, like:
- You can't screw up meat in an oven. You can always fall back to cooking it for several hours. The collagen will dissolve and everything will be meltingly tender.
- It just doesn't seem reasonable to make small amounts of food in an oven. So, you can always cook so much food that it will last you for several days. Hooray, free time!
Yeah, I love my oven. I even want to buy another one. That's right, I want TWO OVENS IN ONE KITCHEN.
This is a simple recipe that I've recently discovered, thanks to Instagram. And it's so flexible that it's not even a recipe.
It tastes like summer in a jar!
One of the best things about this tomato confit is also one of the best things about slow cooking and, well, ovens. By the time the food is done, you can't even remember you had to do anything. The oven does all the work for you!
Wikipedia says that confit is "any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation". I say that tomato confit is the thing from your happiest dreams.
Tomato confit tastes a bit like sun dried tomatoes. But — it's way juicier, softer and richer. It's good with pasta, gorgeous on your breakfast spread, and beautiful both with hummus and a big ball of mozzarella.
- 600g cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
- 3 cloves garlic
Warm up the oven to 120° Celsius.
Wash the cherry tomatoes and put them, without cutting, in a baking dish, alongside the garlic cloves and herbs.
To be honest, I didn't have fresh thyme so I used dried. I wouldn't suggest using dried herbs, though. There was a significant difference in flavor between the thyme and the (fresh) rosemary.
You may use more garlic to taste, but don't allow yourself to use none at all. It gives your confit a significant punch and a tender, yet persistent contrast to the sweetness of tomatoes.
Pour olive oil so they're at least halfway submerged. Sprinkle, generously, with salt.
Put in the oven and let cook for 2-3 hours. I usually check it around 2,5. Tomato skins should be wrinkly.
Let the confit cool and transfer to jars, with a bit of olive oil from the baking dish.
Enjoy, be surprised how quickly you've eaten it, and make some more.
I think oregano would be a good alternative for sage. I'm also contemplating making a small batch with... fresh mint (!) but don't try that at home. I'll notify you of the results.