You can bet you’ve seen this picky eater enjoy plenty of pizzas, some chicken parm, and chips with salsa in her day. But despite my addiction to acid reflux flare-ups, I’ve never been a fresh tomato gal.
If you follow a lot of food bloggers, you know that they drool over the summer tomato season. You can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing sliced tomatoes on toast, garnished with the perfect drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt.
But that’s just not my bag.
I’m the one who decapitates a sandwich before taking a bite to remove every morsel of cold tomatoes.
It’s not because the taste is so bad because even I can acknowledge that that wouldn’t make much sense given the aforementioned foods I so adore. It’s just something about the cold burst of tomato juice in my mouth that I’ve never enjoyed.
But this year, my Instagram feed got to me, and I decided that I needed to give tomatoes a try. I’m not ready for a sliced tomato toast just yet, so I started by cooking with some cherry tomatoes instead.
They are quite Instagram-able, after all, so I tried my hand at tomato confit—slow-simmered cherry tomatoes in olive oil that result in a jammy (but chunky!) tomato spread.
This was a good baby step for popping my tomato cherry (get it? cause I used cherry tomatoes) because it’s not that far off from tomato sauce. But the chunkiness is the key here—biting into tomatoes, even if they’ve been cooked to oblivion, is a new phenomenon for me!
I loved this so much that I made it two weeks in a row and put it on everything I could get my hands on! Yes, there were chunks of tomato (see chunky, unattractive photo above), but they were filled with the juiciest, most savory flavor!
I used What’s Gaby Cooking’s tomato saffron recipe but replaced the saffron with garlic (one clove the first week and two cloves the next, making my apartment smell amazing).
Although it takes about an hour to cook, a lot of that is hands-off time. And the pairing possibilities are truly endless!
I first tried it just spread over some crusty bread, which really highlighted the tomato and garlic flavors. I then added some prosciutto, cheese, and arugula to that bread and made a panini, using the tomato confit as a condiment—highly recommend!
Later that week, it served as some pizza sauce—Picky Boyfriend noted that it tasted “different than normal pizza sauce, but good.” Hell yeah, Picky Boyfriend.
The next week, I couldn’t resist making it again and using it on the best chicken parm I’ve ever made (reflux be damned)!
What I’ve loved about this is not just that it’s easy to make, hard to mess up, and so versatile, but also that it highlights what I love most about Italian cooking: the simplest ingredients used at their peak are delicious AF.
I do realize that I waited until the very end of tomato season to get into cooking with fresh tomatoes, so someone will just need to remind me of this revelation earlier next summer! And maybe by then, I’ll be ready to meander to heirloom tomatoes on toast! Only time will tell!
Have you tried making tomato confit at home? Give it a try, and let me know how you use it in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles! I’ll be making this until the tomatoes look ugly!