There are simply not enough words to express just how incredible this simple-to-prepare jar of deliciousness is for so many uses! Garlic Confit (pronounced “con-fee”) is the wonder condiment. Truly. It will forevermore be a staple in the Saucy household…and it should be in yours too! Don’t let the garlic scare you…it is sweet and delicate in flavour.
I’ve oven-roasted garlic. A lot. But for some now unknown reason I have never made a confit of garlic. That is something that has changed permanently. The confit of garlic gives the same flavour of roasted garlic, without the mess; there are just so many ways to use these tender morsels, as well as the infused oil, that I will be making the producers of garlic very happy indeed with my increased consumption of the bulb.
By slowly simmering the garlic in olive oil (although you could certainly use a different oil), the garlic softens and sweetens and transforms into the most subtle of flavours. Honestly, I could eat it like candy.
Now, for the doubters out there who won’t want to peel that much garlic, I found a really wonderful way to do this part easily. And it really does work. This video shows you how, but basically, you take two bowls of the same size; using your hand, or the bottom of one of the bowls like I did, smash the whole head of garlic. That will break up the head into individual cloves. Place the cloves in one of the bowls and using the other bowl of the same size as a “lid,” shake the daylights out of the two bowls while you hold them together. When you open them, the garlic will be peeled. Simple. There were a few stubborn cloves, but not many. Also, I found it worked better to have more cloves in there to bang around, so I did three heads of garlic at once for my most successful attempt.
Then in this version*, the peeled cloves are added to a sauce pan with olive oil, dried peppers, thyme sprigs, some bay leaf, and then simmered for about 30-40 minutes. That’s it!
The very first thing I did with the garlic confit was to mash the soft garlic in a small bowl, poured in some of the oil (I added salt and pepper too), and spread it on a crusty bread. It was like ambrosia. Do you remember Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet? On his television cooking show he would get to the end where he tasted a dish and he would close his eyes and groan, euphoric with the flavour of what he was tasting? That. That is just exactly what I did when I bit into that bread.
Garlic confit has a bazillion
slight hyperbole uses, though. How about these ideas:
- Added to mashed potatoes or sautéed vegetables
- Used in vinaigrettes
- Mixed with butter
- Placed in sauces, soups, marinades, pastas
- Pressed under the skin of chicken prior to roasting
- Slathered on top of grilled meats
Those are just some of the ways to use the cloves… imagine the uses for the infused oil. I often tell you that you really should make a certain recipe; I’m not even kidding here, you really need to make this garlic confit.
p.s.: Did you know you can remove the smell of garlic (and onions) from your hands by rubbing your hands on stainless steel as you wash them? I have a stainless steel “soap,” but a stainless spoon works just as well.
- 7 heads of garlic, cloves peeled (about 2 cups)
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 3 small bay leaves
- 3 dried red chiles, such as chiles de arbol
- 2 cups olive oil
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 30-40 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- Remove the cloves from the oil with a slotted spoon and place in a jar.
- Pour the oil over the garlic cloves, making sure thyme, bay and chilies are transferred too.
- Cover with a lid and store in a cool place for up to 4 months.
*You can make plain garlic confit without any other ingredients than olive oil and garlic using the same method.