The very word confit conjures images of haute food, ultra gourmet, inaccessible restaurants, maybe even a dress code? It does sound fancy but it’s often the simplest things that are the most prized. I guarantee you will climb a few ranks as a gourmand with this confit sitting in your fridge. I also guarantee that once you try it, you’ll find it makes a great staple, too. Don’t be surprised if you’re making batches of this weekly and/or giving some away. There’s something about sharing something delicious. It’s like sharing joy.
Confit is the fancy way of saying ‘cooked for a long time, submerged in broth or fat, for flavor and preservation’. Back in the good ol’ days before refrigeration, people had to get creative about preserving food. (This is really interesting to study as different parts of the world used different methods best suited to their environment. Thank goodness because the flavors are bold and the nutrients multiplied!) Confit originated in Southern France and was a way to preserve meat. Do yourself a favor and try duck confit. (Remember I was vegetarian for nearly a decade, so such recommendations don’t come lightly!)
Garlic. Oh Garlic. It’s got a smelly reputation that apparently repels vamps. That’s not all this member of the allium family is capable of. Here’s the rundown: Garlic is anti-carcinogenic (especially good for colon cancer), anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal. It is amazing in reducing blood pressure. (Click here for a great explanation on the contraction and dilation of blood vessels explaining blood pressure.) It is also a blood sugar and cholesterol regulator. It reduces fever and helps combat colds and flus. Have you ever tried garlic lemonade? It’s a great home remedy to add to your repertoire. (Recipe coming soon via my sister.) Garlic is great at eliminating toxins from the body. For some, it is considered an aphrodisiac and therefore verboten in the diet for Buddhist monks as well as strict followers of Hinduism. That’s a lot range for a little bulb. That explains why it’s used universally as seasoning and as a home remedy…pretty much since the beginning of time!
So, what to do with all that confit you’re cooking up? It’s great to season soups, vegetables and meat. It makes a great addition to marinades and salad dressings. And, it’s great alone, smeared on a crispy piece of country bread. Yum!
2 heads garlic (roughly about 1 C), cloves separated
1 C (approx) extra virgin olive oil
+ water and ice for blanching and shocking
1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. In the meantime, fill a bowl with water and add 2 C of ice. Blanch the garlic – Add the cloves to the boiling water and let stay for 30 seconds. Promptly remove cloves from boiling water. Shock the garlic – add it to the ice water.
2. Peel the skins off the garlic and trim off the root ends. Let cloves dry in a clean kitchen towel. (I also cut the fatter cloves in half for evenness in cooking.)
3. When dry, add the cloves to a saucepan and add the oil. The oil should fully cover the garlic.
4. Heat over low-medium heat until small bubbles start to form and then reduce heat to low. Skim any skins that come to the surface and stir the cloves so that they cook evenly. Your confit is done when the gloves are a golden color and look soft. It should take about 40 mins. Let cool in saucepan before adding to jar.
5. Store in an air-tight container for 7-10 days. Don’t forget to use the oil, too! You’ve worked hard at it!