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Confit Tomato Technique
Chef Daisley Gordon of Campagne and Café Campagne – Seattle, WA

This simple, slow-poaching confit technique was inspired by a dessert that Executive Chef Daisley Gordon of Seattle’s Campagne and Café Campagne ate at Alain Passard’s three-star Michelin restaurant, L’Arpege, in Paris. The original dish, translated as 12 Flavor Tomato Confit, is a L’Arpege classic—tomatoes stuffed with fruit and spices, served alongside anise ice cream.

Daisley’s version plays down the sweet factor by incorporating woodsy, complex spices that add another dimension to the confit recipe. In Daisley’s words, “Instead of the wet, red tomato flavor, you get this deep, spiky flavor.” Meant as a garnish, Daisley’s tomato confit accompanied the Herb-Steamed Wild Alaskan Cod he served at the 2009 Seattle Rising Stars Honorees Dinner.

The executive chef recommends this technique for those times you find yourself working with less-than-perfect tomatoes, or when you’re searching for a burst of color and flavor out of season. “After all,” Daisley says, “Everyone always has a tomato around.”

Step 1: Score and blanch tomatoes in boiling water to peel. Transfer to ice bath and remove once cool.
Step 2: Halve and deseed tomatoes over a bowl, straining the resulting tomato juice.
Step 3: Bring light syrup ingredients to a boil and allow to simmer 10 minutes.
Step 4: Place tomato halves in half hotel pan and cover with light syrup and herb sachet. Cover with foil and poach for 1 hour on slow part of the grill.
Step 5: Remove foil and transfer tomatoes to a fresh pan to cool.
Step 6: Heat tomatoes with 2 tablespoons poaching liquid, and salt and pepper until liquid reduces to a glaze. Add small nub of butter to bind glaze.


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Confit Tomatoes
Chef Daisley Gordon of Campagne and Café Campagne – Seattle, WA
Adapted by
April 2009
Yield: 15 to 20 servings (1 serving: 1 small roma tomato)

Roma Tomatoes:
15 to 20 roma tomatoes (depending on their size)

Light Syrup:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons broken star anise
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ bulb garlic, crushed
1½ liters white wine
1 cup sugar

To Assemble and Serve:
2 tablespoons poaching liquid
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Roma Tomatoes:
Peel the tomatoes by first scoring an “X” on bottom ends, removing the stem cores and submerging into boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds. Shock the tomatoes in an ice bath and remove at once when cool. Working over a bowl, halve the tomatoes from the top to bottom and remove the seeds without damaging the ribs. Strain the resulting tomato juice into a bowl and reserve.

For the Light Syrup:
Put the thyme, mustard, star anise, anise, coriander, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic in a sachet. Put the wine, sugar, reserved tomato juice, and sachet in a pot and bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes.

To Assemble and Serve:
Transfer the tomato halves to a half hotel pan and cover with the light syrup and sachet. Cover the pan with foil and poach for 1 hour on the slow part of the grill. Remove foil and transfer the contents to a fresh pan to cool. Tomatoes should maintain their shape when finished.

Once cooled, place the tomatoes in a sauté pan with 2 tablespoons poaching liquid. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Heat the tomatoes through and reduce the liquid to a glaze, adding a small nub of butter to bind the glaze. Use the tomatoes as a component or garnish to a dish.

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  Published: April 2009