Aside from butter, garlic is another of my life’s greatest passions. I put at least half a bulb (yes, bulb) of garlic in almost every dish I make. When cooked well, it adds a warm, roasted and almost sweet flavor to any dish. Frying or sautéing garlic are two of the easiest ways to prepare the aromatic, but my all-time favorite method of preparing it is by making garlic confit.
Confit—French for preserve—is a cooking technique that uses fat and very low heat to slowly cook and preserve a protein in fat. The most common example of a confit is duck confit, where duck leg is slowly cooked in duck fat and then pan-seared to achieve a crispy, golden brown exterior.
This cooking technique isn’t exclusively for meat, though. Case in point: garlic confit. Instead of fat, garlic confit uses oil for cooking and preservation. Making garlic confit is extremely easy. The most “difficult” part of the process is the prep work.
When you make garlic confit, you actually end up with two things: tender garlic cloves and garlic-infused oil. Using a neutral oil makes the garlic stand out more, but olive oil works well, too—especially if you like the natural flavor of the olive oil you’re using.
Confited garlic yields tender, spreadable, aromatic cloves that don’t leave a raw garlic taste in your mouth. It has a smoky, somewhat sweet flavor and can be used to add an extra dimension of flavor in your dips, sauces, dressings and marinades.
I recently experimented with making butter from scratch, to which I added some of my garlic confit. This garlic butter spread is a great way to make quick garlic bread (and is personally the only way I’m making garlic bread from here on).
Basically, the possible applications of garlic confit are endless. Another amazing thing about it is that it lasts a long, long time if you keep it in the fridge or a cool, dry place.
- 1/2 kg garlic, peeled
- 500ml neutral or olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Herbs (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 90 degrees Celsius
- Place the peeled garlic cloves in an oven-safe saucepan or bowl
- Add salt and herbs to taste
- Pour neutral oil over the garlic, making sure that every clove is submerged in at least a quarter-inch of oil
- Place the garlic in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the garlic becomes tender
- Wait for the garlic to fully cool and then transfer into a jar
- Add to sauces, dips, dressings, marinades or use as a spread by itself