Confit garlic is one of those ingredients that you didn’t know you needed in your kitchen until you tried it.
Cooking garlic in olive oil with herbs makes magic. Garlic confit has a soft and velvet-like texture and a sweet and mild flavour. You can use the garlic and garlic-infused oil in absolutely everything you cook!
Exactly What is Confit?
The French word “confit” literally means to preserve.
Before refrigeration, humans needed a way to preserve food so it did not rot. Hunters and cooks dating back to the fifteenth century made an early confit by heavily salting the legs and wings of birds before submerging them in fat and storing them in a cool, dark place to ripen for months. What started out as a form of food security turned into a highly-regarded culinary technique used by French chefs, who then exported confit around the world.
Confit (pronounced con-fee) is a preservation method traditionally used for building up pantry foods – with a focus on poultry, in particular, that’s slow-cooked in its own fat with some salt. However, fruit and vegetables can also be prepared this way.
The best-known example is duck confit. But the term “confit” can be used to describe any ingredient, including vegetables, that has been slow-cooked in fat at a low temperature.
I suppose the best answer is that poultry and vegetables prepared this way just add an extra dimension of depth of flavour which is unique to confit.
In particular, for me this year has been my first growing my own vegetables and fruit on my allotment and I am discovering methods to preserve the crop so I can enjoy the harvest for longer. Obviously, the freezer and fridge are my initial port of call but I like the richness that confit gives to the preserves, particularly garlic and tomatoes.
Peeling garlic cloves
I have searched every possible method out there on how to best peel garlic cloves. While you can resort to a big bag of pre-peeled garlic cloves, I always prefer to use fresh garlic.
Shake – You can place the garlic cloves into a jar, pop the lid on and shake them until the skin is removed. You need to shake the jar for a long time and you will get a sore arm!
Boiling hot water – In a glass bowl, fully submerge the garlic in boiling hot water and leave to sit for 5 minutes. The skin will loosen and will slide right off. This is my favourite technique for peeling lots of garlic!
Microwave – place the garlic into the microwave for 10 seconds and then the skin should become loose. I don’t like this method as the garlic can slightly cook and also be very hot to the touch!
- 6 heads garlic
- 700 ml olive oil
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 3 dried red chillies
- Preheat the oven to 120°C.
- Peel the garlic by breaking the cloves away and placing them into a heatproof bowl. Submerge in boiling hot water for 5 minutes and drain. The skin will become loose and easy to peel away.
- Place the garlic cloves, thyme and chillies into an ovenproof dish and fully submerge in olive oil. It's important the garlic is fully submerged in the olive oil so it does not burn. Bake for 2 hours or until the garlic has browned in colour.
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight container or jar for up to several weeks in the fridge.