Travis Lett’s Luscious Cherry Tomato Confit

Cherry Tomato Confit

I’m finally getting to the Chef Travis Lett Cherry Tomato Confit recipe that caught my eye back in the dark days of our long COVID winter. Tomatoes worthy of this luscious confit recipe are strictly summer fare. So I waited until the good tomatoes at the Hollywood farmers market were in season. 

Besides, I’ve been away. I spent January in Santa Barbara, California. Which was soon followed by three months in Greece. Most recently I escaped our giant national heatwave with three weeks in the cool summer fog on the Central Coast of California. I’ve been missing my kitchen (and the tasks associated with it). Especially seasonal tasks.

Travis Lett’s Cherry Tomato Confit is the very definition of a seasonal task.

But it’s a relatively simple task. Granted, peeling the tomatoes may be a little “fiddly” but it’s not difficult. I consider it one of those kitchen tasks I’ve been missing.

The easy part comes when the skinned tomatoes are cooked slowly in olive oil strewn with sheets of fresh basil. Travis Lett also includes lots of fresh thyme sprigs but I think a simpler more tomato-forward approach works better. 

Be sure and wrap the baking dish in foil so no steam escapes. The best part of this recipe is peeling back the foil – Jiffy-Pop style – on the cooled tomatoes.

These tomatoes are inexplicably luxurious in taste and texture. They’re very different than tomatoes you may have oven-roasted in the past. That’s because you bothered to peel the tomatoes and gently poach them in the oven. They can’t help but relax into tender submission. 

This is a recipe that you want to save until you’re endowed with an overwhelming abundance of desperately ripe summertime cherry tomatoes from your garden. Or do as I did and choose them from the farmers market end-of-day “use them or lose them” extra-ripe section.

The finished Cherry Tomato Confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks as long as they are completely covered in oil. You can can save them indefinitely if you store them in jars that have been properly cleaned and sealed. 

At Gjelina Travis Lett “spoons these over grilled vegetables or fish”. But they are also good gently re-heated and slathered on thick-cut toast – the warm, herb-scented oil soaking through the charred bread. You could top this tomato toast with anchovy fillets and black olives. I would. But that’s all I’ll say about serving suggestions. I’m sure it’s not hard for you to think of quick, delicious dishes that can be easily made once you have some Cherry Tomato Confit sitting in the refrigerator. GREG

Sun-Gold Cherry Tomato Confit 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2 cupsSource Travis LettPublished

This recipe represents a halved version of the original. Feel free to double or triple the recipe.

Cherry Tomato Confit


  • 1 pint Sun-Gold cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
  • 2 clove peeled and smashed garlic
  • 10 gram large, fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.

Using a paring knife, score a small X in the bottom of each tomato. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 20 seconds, and then immediately transfer them to the ice water bath. Work in batches if necessary, until all the tomatoes have been blanched.

When the tomatoes are cool, remove them from the water. With your fingers, gently slip the skins of the tomatoes, and then place them in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer.

Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes, and then add the garlic, basil, and salt. Add more oil if needed to ensure that the tomatoes are fully covered.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the oil is hot but the tomatoes remain vibrant and whole. Let cool somewhat (the steam could scald you) then tear open the foil and allow the confit to cool completely.

Transfer the tomatoes and oil into a airtight container. Make sure they are completely covered by the oil, to prevent air from reaching the tomatoes.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.