Garlic. We all heard of it’s many beneficial health effects. Hippocrates used to prescribe it to treat a variety of medical conditions and he of all people should know, right? Antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system, have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure and can also lower cholesterol.
Also, I’m borderline addicted to it. I mean, there must be a “too much garlic” line somewhere, but I wouldn’t know where to draw it. I order garlic bread even on a date and double however much a recipe calls for (Always appalled by those saying to use ONE garlic clove. I’m sorry, but are you even listening to yourself?). Furthermore, I strongly suggest that we adopt National Garlic Day from my soulmates across the pond.
OK, so now you see my level of crazy. But what is garlic confit? In this recipe, garlic is slowly cooked into the most delicate, rich, meltingly tender texture, transforming the cloves to be astoundingly sweet and subtle. Just superb, along with a by-product of fragrant and delicious garlic oil. It’s the second year I’ve made it and had to double on the amounts because it become such a favorite in the family.
Olive oil is my preferred oil to confit garlic in, but you can use others too. Since the temperature of the oil doesn’t get too high the natural flavor of virgin olive oil will be preserved, but again, olive pomace oil (a lower grade olive oil that is extracted from olive pulp after the first press) is totally fine.
The confit cloves are the perfect gourmet condiment. Can be used to flavor soups, sauces and marinades, salads, pastas, mashed vegetables or vinaigrettes. For the most sublime treat though, spread them on a crusty slice of bread and enjoy with soft-boiled eggs, one of my favorite Sunday breakfast.
Important! Garlic is a very low acid vegetable. When stored improperly, a toxin can be produced in it that causes the very serious illness botulism. Learn more about the acidity of foods and food safety from my blog series Preserving 101 here and here. Use a sterile jar with a tight seal to store garlic confit, cool the garlic and oil to room temperature and refrigerate. This way, it keeps several months, but you can also freeze it. Just remember to use a clean spoon to dip into the jar and to keep cloves covered in oil.
As a variation to the basic recipe below, add a sprig of rosemary, thyme, and/or a few bay leaves to the saucepan along with the garlic to cook.
Creamy, soft garlic cloves preserved in olive oil. Makes 2 1/2 cups.
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
2 cups olive oil
- Place the garlic cloves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Add the oil to cover garlic completely
- Warm over medium heat until small bubbles form and rise to the surface, making sure the oil never comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat to maintain a temperature below 99°C (210°F) and slow-simmer for about 1 hour until the cloves are completely tender and look pale-golden.
- Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Are you crazy for garlic too? Share your favorite recipe with us!
Photo featured in title image by Marili Forastieri