I encourage you to make garlic confit, the wonderful kitchen workhorse that amplifies so many other fall and winter ingredients. It is so easy to do. The soft cloves and/or flavored oil can go into anything that you would otherwise use garlic in. The slow cooked cloves are much more tame than raw garlic, making them enjoyable for people who want the flavor of garlic without the bite.
Use garlic confit as a pasta sauce or pizza base layer by smashing the softened cloves into some of the oil. The same treatment makes great garlic bread or toast. I sauté or roast vegetables, chicken, fish, or shrimp in garlic confit. Use a spoonful to top a pan-seared steak or chicken. The oil alone is great in a homemade vinaigrette like this. The cloves alone are perfect on a cheese or charcuterie platter, or alongside a sandwich.
What is Confit?
Confit is a French word meaning to preserve. Vegetables or meats that are preserved in fats or oils, or fruits preserved in sugar syrups are considered confit.
While I won’t take a shortcut in buying broth and stock, I do use pre peeled garlic. I buy the three-pound bags of organic pre-peeled garlic at Costco, and use about half of it to make many jars of garlic confit. I use the rest in my day to-day cooking.
How Should I Use My Garlic Confit?
Here's a brief list of delicious ways to use garlic confit:
Smash some of the garlic cloves into some of the oil and spread it on bread for quick and easy garlic toast.
Smash some together and use is at a simple pizza sauce base. Add your other toppings and bake!
Spoon confit garlic cloves into a small dish and put on your next charcuterie and cheese board.
Saute any vegetable in a spoonful or two of the oil and cloves. Carrots, peas, broccoli and broccoli rabe, greens like kale, chard, and collards are especially great this way.
Add extra flavor to roasted vegetables. Add spoonsful of garlic confit to a sheet pan of chopped winter vegetables-- cabbage chunks, cauliflower, peppers, onions, parsnips, turnips, carrots-- and roast at 425° until done.
Use garlic confit instead of butter in mashed potatoes and/or mashed celeriac.
Add a layer of flavor to your stews from the beginning by searing meats and vegetables in garlic confit first.
Use the oil and some chopped garlic cloves from your confit jar to your next vinaigrette.
Pan sear steaks or chicken pieces in garlic confit.
Add some of the oil and chopped cloves to cooked rice and other grains and beans.
Season: All Season
Cook Time: 2 minutesminutes
Total Time: 2 minutesminutes
Author: Pam Spettel
Garlic confit is a springboard to better cool-weather cooking. Use the tender cooked garlic cloves and flavored oil as a condiment or seasoning to breads, meats, and vegetables, and use the garlic-flavored oil as a start to phenomenal sautees, sauces, and vinaigrettes.
Use a paring knife to rim away the stem end or any blemishes from the peeled garlic cloves. Then place the peeled blemish-free cloves in a saucepan (as many as you want), cover with olive oil, and put a lid on it. Make sure the cloves are covered by at least 1/4 inch of oil.
From here you have two choices: set the saucepan into a 250° oven for two hours, or set it on low heat on your cooktop for about the same amount of time. Gently stir the garlic in the oil every 30 minutes to keep them from browning. Moderate your heat as needed to gently cook the garlic. The aim is to soften the garlic cloves, not to toast or roast them. You will know they are ready when the oil has grown deeply golden and the garlic cloves are fork-tender and somewhat translucent.
Garlic confit is best stored in tightly sealed jars in your refrigerator. The refrigerated oil will thicken and become cloudy. It will return to its beautiful liquid-gold self when set out for about 30 minutes, or you can scoop some out and place it in a dish in a warm spot to hurry it along.
After scooping some out to use, make sure that any garlic cloves that are exposed get covered in oil. If there isn’t enough in the jar for that, simply drizzle in a little more from your day-to-day bottle. The oil creates a seal over the garlic cloves that preserves your jar of gold.
You’re in the right place! I’m Pam Spettel, home cooking expert and guide, and I’m here to show you how to break up with cooking and hospitality anxiety, learn how to use recipes as guides rather than strict rules, and let your cooking intuition and confidence soar.
Superpower: Dreaming up recipes that work, serving them to my friends and family, and writing little stories about how cooking them well is the same as loving well.
Inspiration: Ingredients! The fresh, colorful, fragrant, local, seasonal ingredients found in the Pacific Northwest are my creative medium.
Heroes: Local food and wine producers– the people who keep me, my family, and our community nourished and happy.