One of my favorite condiments is garlic confit. (It’s french and pronounced con-fee.) I have been making this for at least 10 years. Not only is it easy to make, but you wind up with a lovely garlic infused olive oil at the same time. The garlic and oil keeps for weeks in the refrigerator. It is delicious on its own and I am always finding new uses for it (see below).
Garlic doesn’t like to be messed with so the more you do to garlic the stronger the flavor. It’s like the finer you chop it, the angrier it becomes. When you roast the whole bulb, in its papery covering, the garlic takes on an almost sweet flavor but when you put it through a press, the flavor is sharp and pungent.
I love roasted garlic, but it is a real pain, once it is roasted, to separate the cloves (pieces that make up the bulb) from the papery skin. That’s okay if you are serving it as an appetizer and everyone is digging out their own pieces to spread on french bread, but if you want to use it in a recipe…
I still remember roasting over a 1/2 dozen bulbs of garlic, painstakingly squishing each and every clove out of its stubborn little coat and winding up with barely a half cup which my dad ate in 4 seconds. On the plus side, I feel this has contributed to his longevity.
So I will keep you in suspense no longer, here’s how to make it. I can’t even call it a recipe it is so easy. At your local market you can find garlic that is already separated into cloves and peeled.
Place the garlic in a heavy bottomed pan. Cover with a good quality olive oil, I use the kalamata olive oil from Trader Joe’s. Don’t worry about using too much oil. After the garlic is poached, the oil is perfumed with the garlic flavor and is wonderful for seasoning veggies, brushing on whatever you want before grilling, roasting or broiling it, in salad dressing, mixed with some grape seed oil and used for sauteing, etc.
Now gently heat the garlic/oil mixture until the garlic barely sizzles and slowly poach it for about 25 minutes or until the cloves are really soft. Don’t let the heat get too high because you don’t want the garlic cloves to brown. You might have to periodically remove from the heat if your cook-top doesn’t have a low enough setting. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, I put an additional grate from the stove over the gas burner so the pan is further from the heat and cook it on low that way. If you have a flame tamer, you can use that. Let it cool and you can store the garlic and the oil together in the refrigerator.
Now you’re asking, “After all this, what do I do with that heavenly fragrant garlic confit?” Well you can:
- Spread it on French or Italian bread sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan and broil for a delicious garlic bread with virtually no fat
- Cut off the top of the Brie, drop a dozen or so cloves on top (depends on the size of the Brie wheel) and heat at about 250°F until the garlic starts to sink into the Brie. Serve with French bread or crackers
- Moosh (a technical term) it with an equal amount of Dijon mustard and some herbes de Provence. Spread on lamb, steak or tuna and broil until done to your liking.
- Use as a spread for sandwiches
- Add the cloves to the spinach or greens that you are sauteing in the garlic oil. Add salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to taste. Leave the garlic cloves whole or mash them a bit into the greens.
- Drizzle the oil on cut up broccoli florets and stems, add some lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast at 425°F about 30 minutes or until tender and starting to brown. If desired through a bunch of the cloves in with the broccoli during last 10 minutes of roasting. You can do this with other veggies too.
- Pasta with Garlic Oil.
- Use your imagination. I’ve got you started. Just remember they are in the fridge before you start cooking. You’ll find they’re gone in no time.