Thanks, Gjusta, for the Tomato Confit

August 13, 2022Recipe Development

Inspired by a trendy Venice, Calif., eatery, this tomato confit is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients — and without the scary price tag.

It started one Sunday morning last summer when Richard went to pick up bagels and bialys at Gjusta. If you’re not familiar with it, Gjusta is a twee bakery/eatery in Venice, Calif., little sister of Gjelina, so the twee is deep in its DNA. Their goods are very good, so it’s an indulgence we happily pay for.

Most of the time.

This particular Sunday, as I rooted through the bag, I discovered Richard made a detour from the usual salmon spread for his bialys.

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“How much was this?” I asked, holding up a tiny deli cup of Roma tomatoes lounging in olive oil. Last summer, even before inflation sent food prices skyrocketing this year, I knew this itty-bitty thing probably cost a kidney.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he demurred. (As of summer 2023, it’s $9 for 6 ounces.)

“I could make this, you know,” I said. “There’s not much to it.”

 “Go for it,” he laughed.

And so began our Tomato Confit Summer, which continued well into November (thanks, climate change). And it picked up again this year with the return of tomato season. Every couple of weeks, I get a couple of pounds of tomatoes and make a batch of this confit. It requires minimal skill – if you can halve some tomatoes, you can make this — and yields great reward.

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We mostly plow through them on crusty bread, sometimes atop burrata or mashed avocado. But I’ll also coarsely chop up some of the tomatoes and garlic, and warm that up in a pan with some of the oil from the jar and a spoonful of Calabrian chile paste for a rustic pasta sauce.

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Tomato Confit Recipe inspired by Gjusta Bakery

Stupid-Easy Tomato Confit

This is really more of a technique than a recipe. Use a meaty variety of tomatoes, like Roma, Early Girl, or Costoluto. Sometimes you’ll see these labeled as “paste” tomatoes at the farmers’ market. Adjust the amount of olive oil depending on the size of your baking dish. The number of garlic cloves is just a suggestion--add as many as you like. Measure those with your heart, as they say. This makes about 1 quart, for which you can charge $45 if you're feeling salty.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 baking dish (about 2-quart capacity
  • 1 (1-quart) jar


  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled (add more of you like)
  • olive oil, as needed
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Halve the tomatoes. Arrange them, cut side up, in a snug single layer in baking dish just large enough to hold them. Tuck the garlic cloves between the tomatoes. Drizzle with a lot of olive oil. How much? Depends on size of your pan and how many tomatoes you’ve got, but you want them resting in a generous puddle of oil. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until the tomatoes and garlic are very tender. Cool, and transfer to a quart-size jar, along with any oil and juices in the baking dish. Refrigerate for 2 weeks or freeze for 2 months.
Keyword condiment, vegan, vegetarian


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