These slow-roasted tomatoes appear as an ingredient in many of Alain Ducasse's more complicated dishes, but they stand on their own just fine. It's hard not to think of quick, delicious dishes that can be made easily once you have some tomato confit sitting in the refrigerator.
Ducasse uses a lesser-quality olive oil for cooking.
- 10 medium , same size tomatoes, ripe and firm
- 5 cloves garlic
- Fleur de sel (may substitute kosher or table salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil for baking
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for storing
Wash the tomatoes, score the bottom of each tomato with an X and remove the stem, cutting only the skin and not into the meat of the tomato.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Ready a bowl of ice water. When the water boils, add the tomatoes and remove after 15 seconds with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Immediately plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain on a perforated rack or in a colander. Peel away the skin from each tomato and discard. Cut the tomatoes into four quarters. Remove all of the seeds and insides from each quarter, keeping only the outside.
Cut each garlic clove in half and remove the small germ from each half. Slice the garlic as thinly as possible.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Place a rectangular cooling rack on top of the aluminum foil-lined pans.
Season the tomato quarters with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Drizzle each with olive oil and lay on one of the racks with the side from which the skin was removed facing up.
On the top of each tomato quarter, lay a piece of the sliced garlic and evenly distribute the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Transfer the pans to the oven and let the tomatoes slowly bake until they are shriveled but not dry. This should take about 2 1/2 hours. Turn the tomatoes over once during the cooking time.
Put the tomatoes in a bowl, cover with the extra-virgin olive oil and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.
Adapted from "Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia," by Alain Ducasse (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2005).
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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