If there’s ever a recipe that has changed my life, it’s this one. Well, and also the Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Oh, and I can’t forget the Frozen Banana Bites. OK. Truth be known, lots of recipes have “changed my life.” I have the burgeoning waistline to prove it. But this particular recipe is special because it isn’t just your typical “stand-alone waiting to be served and then gone in a few minutes” meal. This is the recipe that keeps on giving because of its potential for use in so many other dishes.
I found it when leafing through The Breakaway Cook by Eric Gower. The concept here is garlic – lots and lots of garlic – slow-cooked in oil. A more technical definition of a confit is meat cooked slowly in its own fat. Since I have been a vegetarian now for oh-so-many years, I’ve not been exposed to a lot of confits in my life. Thanks to Mr. Gower I didn’t have to live with that disappointment one more minute.
The thing is, we love garlic. It’s like the “dark and stormy night” of cooking; so many of our meals begin with sauteing garlic in olive oil. I even find ways to sneak a clove or two in dishes that may not traditionally call for it; like mashed potatoes. Now with Garlic Confit in the house, that sneaking around has become even more delightful. That’s because Garlic Confit results in succulent, roasted, oil-infused cloves just waiting to be included in my favorite recipes. The garlic is so tender it can be smashed with a fork and added to sauces; left whole on a pizza; sliced in salad dressings; and yes, even whipped into our favorite mashed potatoes.
A Garlic Confit is stored in the fridge in its oil. You won’t want to let any of it go to waste because the oil is left with an delicate garlic flavor that can be used in a variety of ways — like cooking veggie burgers or to adding to salad dressings.
Some farmer’s markets will sell bags of peeled garlic, but it was a little too early for that at mine. So I was lucky that Costco was having a sale on bagged, peeled garlic. I was able to double the batch without the hassle of peeling the garlic myself. And having a double batch of Garlic Confit in the fridge is not such a bad thing either.
(Source: The Breakaway Cook by Eric Gower)
- About 50 garlic cloves, peeled
- Canola oil – enough to cover the garlic in a small saucepan
Get out your cutting board and knife and begin removing the brown root off each peeled garlic clove; then place them in a medium skillet. Then pour canola oil over the garlic; enough to cover it.
This next step was a difficult one for me. It requires patience; something I have in only small doses. Turn the heat up slowly to allow the oil to warm up gently. You want it to reach the point where there are small bubbles in the oil, but not so much that it’s technically boiling. Eric Gower says, “Slow and gentle is the key here.” You’re going to cook the garlic slowly in the oil for roughly 45 minutes. Not only will the oil be garlic-infused, your house will be too. It’s a wonderful and intense aroma.
Once the garlic is done, turn off the heat but allow the pan to sit on the burner until it’s completely cooled. Next place the confit in a jar and refrigerate. Mr. Gower says to store the confit in the fridge in its oil and it will keep for a few months. But once you begin adding this roasted garlic to your favorite dishes, you won’t have to worry about storing it because it will be gone much sooner than that.