May 6, 2014

Garlic Confit

Everyone has a kitchen chore they can't stand. For some it's chopping onions. For others it's doing the dishes. Some people hate peeling potatoes, pitting cherries, or hulling strawberries.

For me, there's nothing more onerous than peeling garlic. I don't like the sticky feel of cut garlic on my knife. I hate the strong smell that clings to my fingers for days. And it drives me nuts when the papery skins flutter off my cutting board and onto the kitchen floor. Life would be a lot easier if I didn't love garlic so much. Sigh.

That's why I waste spend money on peeled garlic. Not the stuff in jars immersed in a strange preservative. Just peeled garlic cloves.

Peeled garlic stays fresh in the fridge for a couple of weeks. But it won't last forever. And the other day I found myself with nearly half a container nearing its sell by date. I thought about making Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. But I decided to go a different route.

I gently simmered the garlic cloves in olive oil for almost an hour. The olive oil took on the flavor of the garlic. And the cloves softened while their flavor mellowed.

I had some good, crusty bread that I dipped straight into the oil. But the possibilities are endless. Spread on roast chicken. Drizzle over a caprese salad. Brush onto grilled vegetables. Blend with white beans to make a dip. Stir into mashed potatoes. Or toss with pasta.

Place garlic cloves and olive oil in a small saucepan.

Heat over medium heat until first small bubbles appear.

Simmer gently over low heat until garlic is tender and golden brown and the oil is fragrant.


Garlic Confit

Recipe from The Garlic Press

1 cup garlic cloves
1 1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, optional

1.    Place garlic cloves and oil in a small saucepan. The oil should completely cover the garlic cloves.

2.    Heat oil over medium heat.

3.    When the first bubbles appear in the oil, turn heat down as low as possible. Heat for 45 to 55 minutes, until the oil is fragrant and the garlic cloves are light brown and can be easily pierced with a knife.

4.    Remove some oil and cloves and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

5.    If you're not going to use it right away, wait for the confit to cool. Then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate. 

Makes 1 1/2 cups garlic confit. 

Note: The garlic confit will keep in the fridge for about two weeks. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to use it to give the oil a chance to come to room temperature. You can also reheat it gently.

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