With a touch of elegance and a whole lot of flavor, this garlic confit recipe is not only simple and straightforward but also a great addition to countless dishes. Whether it’s for a holiday feast or a weekday dinner, garlic confit is sure to impress with its tender, buttery cloves infused with aromatic herbs and a spicy kick from chili flakes.
🧄 What is Confit?
“Confit” is a term borrowed from French cuisine that refers to the technique of slowly cooking and preserving food in fat, oil, or sugar syrup. It’s a method that not only cooks the food but also allows it to be stored for a longer period. A well-known example is garlic confit, where garlic cloves are gently poached in oil until they’re incredibly tender and infused with flavor. This method transforms the food, giving it a delightful texture and enhancing its natural tastes. Confit is a culinary tradition cherished for its ability to bring out the best in simple ingredients.
❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Unmatched Flavor: The slow confiting process transforms the garlic into soft, mellow, and deeply flavorful cloves that enhance any dish they’re added to.
- Versatility at Its Best: From toast and salads to roasts and pasta, this garlic confit is a kitchen chameleon.
- Ease of Preparation: With minimal prep time and simple instructions, anyone can master this recipe.
- Long Shelf Life: Stored properly, your garlic confit can last up to three weeks in the fridge.
- Health Benefits: Garlic is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients and health-promoting properties.
- Customizable: Feel free to play around with different herbs or oils to tailor the flavor to your liking.
- No More Waste: Got leftover garlic? This recipe is perfect for using up any surplus cloves you have lying around.
🗒️ Ingredients and Substitutes
Fresh Garlic Cloves: The star of the show! Fresh garlic cloves are slowly confited to create a tender, almost spreadable consistency. While pre-peeled garlic can save time, freshly peeled cloves often yield the best flavor.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A crucial element in confit, extra virgin olive oil imparts a fruity depth and helps preserve the garlic. However, if olive oil isn’t your preference, other oils like canola or grapeseed work well as substitutes.
Fresh Oregano: Oregano adds a subtle layer of earthiness and herbaceousness. Fresh herbs offer a brighter flavor, but dried oregano is a great year-round alternative.
Red Chili Flakes: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, chili flakes provide a warm, spicy undertone. Feel free to adjust the quantity to suit your taste or omit it altogether for a milder version.
🥣 How to Make Garlic Confit
- In a small saucepan, combine the peeled garlic cloves with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, ensuring the cloves are fully submerged for even cooking.
- Add the fresh oregano sprigs for an aromatic touch, and red chili flakes for a hint of heat.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid, and let the mixture simmer over low heat. The key is a gentle, low simmer to avoid burning the garlic and to ensure it confits beautifully.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 40 minutes. You’re looking for the garlic to become irresistibly soft, tender, and slightly golden – a true testament to its buttery transformation.
- Once confited to perfection, use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic and oregano into a glass jar. Then, pour the fragrant oil over the top to envelop the cloves fully.
🍝 Garlic Confit Uses
Elevate Your Toast and Sandwiches
Transform your morning toast or your lunchtime sandwich into a gourmet experience. Spread the tender cloves of garlic confit onto crusty bread or layer it in a sandwich for an instant flavor upgrade. The oil can also be used as a base for a luxurious garlic bread or as a dressing for open-faced sandwiches.
Enhance Your Pastas
Garlic confit can be a game-changer for pasta dishes and roasts. Stir the softened cloves into pasta sauces or mash them into a paste and mix it in. The subtle, mellow flavor of the confit complements all kinds of sauces, elevating the taste without overpowering the dish.
Dress Your Salads and Vegetables
The oil from the garlic confit, infused with the essence of garlic and herbs, makes an exquisite base for salad dressings or vinaigrettes. Drizzle it over fresh greens, roasted vegetables, or use it to sauté your favorite veggies for an added layer of flavor.
Dip, Spread, and More
Garlic confit can be the star of a dip or spread. Blend the cloves with chickpeas for a garlic-infused hummus, or mix them with softened butter for a compound butter that’s divine on crispy cauliflower, potato wedges, or simply spread on warm bread.
🥡 Storing Garlic Confit
Once your stovetop garlic confit has cooled to room temperature, it’s ready to be stored. Transfer the confit into an airtight container or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Ensure that the cloves are fully submerged in oil to prevent exposure to air.
Store the jar in the refrigerator, where it can be safely kept for up to three weeks. It’s essential to note that garlic confit should always be refrigerated. Storing it at room temperature increases the risk of botulism, a serious foodborne illness.
When you’re ready to use your garlic confit, you can enjoy it cold or gently reheat it. To warm the confit, simply scoop out the desired amount of garlic and oil and warm it in a small saucepan over low heat until it reaches your preferred temperature.
It’s never a good idea to microwave the confit, as it can heat unevenly and potentially cause the oil to splatter. Gentle reheating on the stovetop is the best method to preserve the confit’s texture and flavor.
💭 Top Tips
Choose Quality Ingredients: The simplicity of garlic confit means that the quality of each ingredient shines through. Opt for fresh garlic cloves and high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Fresh herbs, rather than dried, can also make a significant difference in the depth of flavor.
Low and Slow is the Way to Go: Patience is key when making garlic confit. The cloves should be cooked gently and slowly to avoid burning and to ensure they soften to that perfect, spreadable texture. Keep the heat low and give the cloves the time they need to confit properly.
Safety First: Always store your garlic confit in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause botulism. Also, make sure the cloves are fully submerged in oil, and use a clean spoon each time you scoop out some confit to avoid contamination.
Use the Right Tools: A small saucepan is ideal for making garlic confit, as it ensures the cloves are snug and submerged in the oil. A slotted spoon will be handy for transferring the cloves into your storage jar, and a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid is essential for storage.
Get Creative: Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, feel free to get creative with your garlic confit. Experiment with different herbs (like bay leaves or fresh thyme), spices, or types of oil to create your own unique flavor combinations.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
Can garlic confit be frozen for longer storage? Yes, garlic confit can be frozen. Freeze it in small portions for easy thawing and use.
Is garlic confit the same as roasted garlic? While both are cooked garlic, they’re not the same. Roasted garlic is cooked in the oven until caramelized, while garlic confit is poached in oil at a low temperature, resulting in a different texture and flavor profile.
Can I make garlic confit in the oven? Yes, garlic confit can be made in the oven. Place garlic and oil in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at a low temperature until tender.
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Garlic Confit Recipe
- 4 bulbs fresh garlic cloves separated and peeled
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add the garlic cloves, oil, oregano and red chili flakes. Place the lid on the pan.
- Bring everything to a low simmer, then simmer for 40 minutes or until the garlic is soft, tender and buttery with a slight golden tint.
- Carefully spoon the garlic and oregano into a glass jar for storage, then cover with the remaining oil.
- Screw a lid on tightly, then store the confit in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.