Tomato Conserva

tomato conserva
As we move into the end of the season, cooked tomatoes are the way to go! Think about jarring this for the cold winter months to remind you of warmer days.
3 & 1/2 pounds tomato, whole cherry or large diced heirlooms
4 bulbs fennel, cored and sliced into 1/2in wide strips
7 lemons, just the peels 
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
7 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chili flake
1 & 1/2 tablespoons fennel seed
1 quart EVOO, plus enough to submerge your final tomato mix
1 cup champagne (or white wine or rice vinegar)
Kosher salt to taste
The key is to go slow and low.
In a sauce pan heat oil until just beginning to shimmer, add garlic and shallot and cook until very aromatic and softening, you don't want any color so keep the heat just high enough to be actually cooking (almost steeping the alliums in the oil),10-15 min. Add fennel seed and lemon peels and cook until fennel and lemon scent is filling the air, 5-ish minutes. Add chili flake and sliced fennel bulb until fennel JUST begins to soften, 8-10 min. Add your tomato and cook until they are just too hot to pick up. Seasoning with pinches of salt along the way with each addition to the pot. Pour in the vinegar and add additional oil until just covered. Adjust to your liking with more vinegar and salt. Store it in the refrigerator. Best eaten the following day and up until a week or so at room temp with crusty bread. Or jar it for the winter!