When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: Everything is better with garlic confit, especially open-faced tomato tartines.
Shop the Story
Dude, please. Don’t shoot Buddha in the face with a water gun.
But mom. It’s so fun. Why not?
I don’t know. It just seems wrong. He’s just sitting there, all smiling and peaceful. Reminding me to breathe and be in the moment.
What does in the moment mean?
It’s what I’m practicing right now.
Don’t be crazy. You’re not doing anything right now!
Well that’s the point. I’m supposed to be writing a bunch of things and my photo of butterscotch sauce is a bit soft so I should reshoot it but I’m here on our back porch in the sun with these dirty white pillows surrounded by thirsty plants watching you shoot yourself in the face with a water gun and there’s nowhere else I should be and I’m trying not to think about the immunization form that’s not filled out or the laundry or that stain on the rug or the dishes or the fact that summer is almost over and—
Okay. Okaaaaaaaaay. I get it. Being in the moment. It’s like when you’re cooking. Right? And when you’re listening to that song.
We glide into the kitchen, gorge ourselves on tomato tartines, and listen to Daft Punk over and over again, knowing, that come September, we will be sick of them both.
How to Make Tomato Tartines with Garlic Confit
For the Garlic Confit: Break apart a head of garlic. Poke a tiny hole in each clove with a needle or paring knife to help prevent them from exploding (mine have hit the ceiling!). Place unpeeled cloves in a deep pot and cover with olive oil. Place on the back burner and don’t get your face anywhere near the pot or you might be sorry. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to the lowest simmer to prevent splattering. Simmer until cloves are cooked through (they’re done when a paring knife slides right in) -- it should take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cloves. Take pot off the heat and cool. You can refrigerate the garlic confit covered with the garlic oil, just use it up within about a week -- after that, throw it out. If you use up the garlic oil, just replenish by covering the cloves with olive oil.
For the Herby Cherry Tomato Salad: Halve a handful of cherry tomatoes. Toss them with a pinch of salt, pepper, a big splash of garlic confit oil, a small splash of balsamic vinegar, and all kinds of chopped herbs (parsley, mint, tarragon, sage). Taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Make it vibrant. Maybe add some lemon zest, pomegranate molasses, or sherry wine vinegar. Play.
More: Slice all of the cherry tomatoes, faster, with this this hack.
For the assembly: Grill or toast some bread. Remove several cloves of garlic confit from the oil, squeeze contents out of the skins, and spread all over the warm bread with a butter knife. Top with slices of heirloom tomatoes. Salt the slices (this month, I’m loving Maldon sea salt or grey salt on my tomatoes). Top with the Herby Cherry Tomato Salad. Drizzle with olive oil. Eat right away or your bread will get soggy.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.