Spicy Garlic Tomato Confit is slow-cooked to concentrate flavors and create something that’s sweet, tangy, earthy and spicy all in one delicious bite!
Spicy Tomato Garlic Confit
Tomato confit has concentrated flavors making it a versatile ingredient, capable of elevating a range of dishes. When paired with the mellowed earthy flavor of roasted garlic and the fiery heat of Calabrian chili peppers, this recipe for confit tomatoes becomes even more irresistible.
You’ll want to add it to your pasta sauces, slather it on toasted bread or sandwiches, incorporate it into salad dressings or serve it with cheese + charcuterie as a spread.
Whether you just love a little spice, are looking to use up your bounty from tomato season, or your’e an adventurous foodie looking to broaden your culinary horizons, this spicy garlic tomato confit with Calabrian chili will be a recipe you make again and again.
What is Confit?
The word ‘confit’ originates from the French language. It is derived from the verb ‘confire’ which means ‘to preserve’. You’re probably familiar with the dish duck confit – where it is slow-cooked in duck fat until tender and then preserved in its own fat. (Commence drooling.)
So, in cooking terms, it’s an ingredient that is cooked and preserved in fat or oil. For example, tomato confit involves slow-cooking tomatoes in oil until they become soft with an intense flavor.
Gather Your Ingredients
You can make tomato confit with any variety of fresh tomatoes; this recipe uses small variety, specifically.
- Whole cherry tomatoes — or grape tomatoes. Select all one color, or mix it up with a medley of colors.
- Whole garlic cloves — smash them to help release their fragrance, but these are left mostly intact during the roasting process where they’ll soften and mellow.
- Extra virgin olive oil — use a good olive oil as it adds flavor, but will also be infused with flavor. You can use left over roasting oil in other dishes, too.
- Calabrian chili paste — hailing from the sun-soaked region of Calabria in Southern Italy, these chiles are renowned for their vibrant red color, fruity aroma, and assertive spiciness. You’ll find them packed in jars, whole, or in the form of a paste. I always have a jar in my fridge!
- Fresh thyme sprigs — both tender and woody, these hold up well to the long cooking process. You’ll discard the stems at the end, but leave behind any leaves that have fallen away.
- Kosher salt + fresh cracked black pepper — feel free to use sea salt instead.
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you (thank you!). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full Disclosure for more information.
Cherry Tomato Confit Recipe Steps
- In a small baking dish that is just large enough for a single layer, place tomatoes and smashed cloves of garlic.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Calabrian chili paste and extra virgin olive oil. Pour this over the tomatoes + garlic.
- Tuck in some thyme sprigs and season with salt + pepper.
- Slow roast for 1-1/2 hours at a low temperature of 275°F until tender, but not completely burst.
- Discard the woody stems. Mash the garlic with a fork and gently stir them in to distribute.
Variations + Substitutions
Fresh herbs – add to or substitute other herbs for the thyme. Oregano immediately comes to mind. Fresh rosemary can handle the heat, but may be a bit overwhelming…it’s cook’s choice though! If you love the combo of tomatoes and basil, I suggest adding fresh basil leaves as a garnish before serving, or stir some chopped basil in before storing it away. Basil will turn really dark during the roasting process, so using fresh at the end looks way more appealing.
Tomato varieties – especially if you’re growing tomatoes in your own garden and have some ripe red plum tomatoes or big juicy heirloom tomatoes, you can confit those as well! This is a simple recipe to adapt. You’ll need a baking sheet or larger casserole. Cut large tomatoes in half. Scale up the garlic and herbs and use enough extra-virgin olive oil to flavor and cook the tomatoes, but they do not need to be completely submerged. You’ll also need to adjust the cooking time as larger varieties will require longer.
Spice – substitute red pepper flakes for the Calabrian chili, or omit entirely.
Sweet – like your tomatoes on the sweeter side? Add a generous pinch of sugar along with the salt + pepper, or drizzle in a bit of balsamic vinegar before roasting.
Serve spicy garlic tomato confit, warm or at room temperature as a condiment for crusty bread with burrata or ricotta and charcuterie boards.
Make delicious salad dressings by combining tomato confit with your favorite vinegars or lemon juice…and don’t forget to use the luscious flavor-infused oil from the confit cooking process, too.
Create a rustic pasta sauce by combining the confit with more fresh herbs and pasta water. (This is such a delicious and easy way to use tomato confit. I also toss in a couple handfuls of baby spinach, sliced Italian sausage + plenty of Pecorino Romano. It’s one of our favorite ways to enjoy pasta!)
How To Store Tomato Confit
Refrigerator – transfer tomato confit to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month (but it’ll get eaten way before that!).
Freezer – use a freezer safe container to store tomato confit for up to one year.
Other Uses For Calabrian Chili
Wouldn’t you know it? I’ve got a few other ways to use up that Calabrian chili paste!
When you’re in need for a quick and easy appetizer, try Warm Crab Bruschetta, Grilled Shrimp + Polenta with Calabrian Cream or Goat + Gouda Pimento Cheese. Main dishes that sing with this ingredient are Baked Gnocchi with Sausage Ragu and Crispy Shrimp Sliders. Even breakfast gets in on this spice game with Caramelized Onion + Zucchini Egg Casserole.
Stick Around for These Recipes!
- Skillet Polenta with Burst Tomatoes + Burrata
- Vegetarian Antipasto Grilled Cheese
- Mini Grinder Sandwiches
- Tomato + Artichoke Paninis
- Charred Tomato Salsa
- Homemade Tomato Basil Bisque
Spicy Garlic Tomato Confit with Calabrian Chili
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, any color or a medley
- 4 cloves fresh garlic peeled + smashed with the side of a knife
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Calabrian chili paste or more, to taste
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- kosher salt + fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Place tomatoes and smashed garlic cloves in a small casserole (just large enough for the tomatoes to sit in a single layer).
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and Calabrian chili paste together with a fork, then pour over the tomatoes. (The olive oil should reach about halfway up the sides of the tomatoes; add more olive oil if you feel its necessary.)
- Nestle the sprigs of thyme in between the tomatoes and season with kosher salt + black pepper.
- Roast for 1-1/2 hours. Discard the woody thyme stems. Mash the garlic with a fork and gently stir to distribute.
- Refrigerator – transfer tomato confit to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month (but it’ll get eaten way before that!).
- Freezer – use a freezer safe container to store tomato confit for up to one year.
- As a condiment for bread or cheese + charcuterie boards.
- Make a rustic pasta sauce.
- Whisk into salad dressings.
- Add to sandwiches + wraps.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.