How to Make Garlic Confit
Hi, do you have a vampire problem? If so, I have the recipe for you! Not only will it safeguard your house and surrounding area from garlic-hating demons, it will also happily feed you.
For the poll last week you all voted for something with a lot of garlic in it and I can think of nothing that has more garlic in it than, well, garlic.
If you’re unfamiliar with the technique of confit cooking, it is used a lot for meats like duck to slowly cook them and also preserve them for later. Essential it involves cooking them in fat, but not frying them necessarily. Theoretically, you could do this with almost anything but some foods take on the technique better than others. Garlic is one of the things that it works perfectly on.
I’ve had this on my list to try forever and finally got around to it over the weekend.
As Betsy said when she tried a piece of bread slathered with Garlic Confit: “Sometimes you know what you’re doing.”
1) Separate cloves from garlic heads, removing as much paper as possible from the cloves.
2) Boil the cloves in rapidly boiling water for 20 seconds. Then transfer cloves to cold water to stop the cooking.
3) Cut off the root ends from each clove and peel each clove. The outer layer should pop off easily.
4) Place peeled cloves in a small pot and cover cloves with olive oil.
5) Gently cook cloves over low heat in oil. Never let the oil get above 210 degrees F. Try to keep it around that temperature for 40 minutes.
6) Remove garlic from heat and let cool in the oil for 20 minutes until oil is almost room temperature.
7) Use cloves immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for weeks.
Peeling the Garlic
There are really only two steps to this Garlic Confit recipe and the bad news is that both steps are fairly annoying.
Quick Peeling Update: A few readers already commented on a much faster way to peel garlic! I haven’t tried it, but it looks awesome to me. Definitely worth a shot. Check out the video on how to peel a whole head of garlic in 10 seconds.
Step one is to peel like 80 cloves of garlic. There’s actually no set amount of garlic you need for this recipe. It would work with 2 cloves or 200 hundred cloves assuming you have a pot big enough and enough oil. I decided to use 6 large heads of garlic which worked out to be around 80 cloves I think.
Separate the cloves from the garlic bulb and try to scrub off as much of the annoying paper as possible so you’re just left with the cloves themselves.
To make peeling them a little easier, I recommend dunking the cloves in rapidly boiling water for 20 seconds. Then transfer the cloves to some cool water to stop the cooking. This will loosen the skins and make them easier to peel.
To actually peel them then, you can just cut off the root end of each clove and the skin should slide off fairly easily.
I’ll be honest though, it’s still a really annoying process to peel all of these. It is what it is.
Peeling the garlic is the most annoying part of this Garlic Confit recipe, but the second step is also somewhat annoying in a different way.
Cooking the Garlic
To accomplish the end goal (garlic confit) we need to very gently cook the garlic in oil for about 40 minutes until the cloves are really tender.
Olive oil is really the only way to go here but there’s zero need to use a very nice olive oil. Don’t spend $20 on this. Any olive oil will do the trick.
You need enough oil to cover the cloves. It helps to use a small pot for this because the larger the pot the more oil you’ll need. I think I used about 2 cups of oil for my cloves.
When you’re ready to cook, place the pot over low heat on your stove. As the oil heats, little bubbles will start to form and come to the surface.
Very importantly, you don’t want your temperature to go above about 210 degrees F. and ideally it will stay in the 200-210 range.
This should go without saying but that’s such a tiny range that it’s almost impossible to do this without a deep fry thermometer to monitor the heat.
The problem is that if you didn’t use a thermometer, by the time you noticed your oil was too hot, it would be too late and your entire pot of garlic would be burned and ruined.
This Garlic Confit needs to cook for about 40 minutes which will smell nothing short of amazing assuming you like the smell of roasted garlic (and if you don’t then I don’t know why you would make this).
Once the garlic is cooked, remove it from the heat and let the pot slowly cool for about 20 minutes.
The finished result is really tender, savory but not bitter, cloves. You can literally pop one of these in your mouth and eat it. It’s garlic perfection.
Store your Garlic Confit in an airtight container in the fridge and you should probably use within a few weeks.
How Should You Use Them?
Oh let me count the ways… Mashed potatoes, garlic bread, any pasta dish, pizza, salad dressings, stir-fries, and pretty much any other dish where you need garlic. The only difference is that the flavor of these is more mild and subtle. If a recipe calls for a clove of garlic, you can easily use 3-4 of these cloves.
My favorite use? I just smashed a few cloves of garlic with softened butter and spread it on toast with some chopped scallions.
I’m not one to sugar coat and so I am definitely calling this Garlic Confit recipe annoying. It sucks to peel a million cloves of garlic and it sucks to stand next to a pot for 40 minutes constantly monitoring temperature.
But, the end result is pretty impressive. To be honest, I could see bottling small containers of these cloves and giving them away as holiday gifts. They are really unique and delicious.
Has anyone ever tasted or made garlic confit before? Leave a comment!