What can you do with a bunch of garlic simmered and preserved in oil? As it turns out, a lot! Garlic confit is an incredibly versatile ingredient that works with a wide variety of recipes. It doesn’t matter if a recipe is vegan, meat-based, a heavy main dish or just a light snack; chances are you can add garlic confit to make it better.
But why garlic confit? Why not just regular garlic cloves and olive oil? Garlic confit has a tender consistency, which makes it more versatile compared to regular garlic cloves. It also subtly adds garlic flavor to the dish, efficiently enhancing the tastes from other ingredients instead of outright overwhelming them.
Making a Simple Garlic Confit
Aside from being careful with the heat of the stove, making your own garlic confit shouldn’t be a difficult task. Also, the most basic version of the garlic confit — which will work for most dishes — requires very few ingredients that are most likely already in your kitchen pantry. Here’s a quick guide to making the stuff.
1 cup of olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 garlic heads
Salt and pepper, as preferred
Note – these should be more than enough to make about 35-40 cloves.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Set the heat to low and add the garlic. This should keep the garlic from getting overcooked. Cook the garlic for about an hour.
3. Use a clean spoon to scoop out the garlic cloves and put them in a jar. Cover the cloves in oil and store in a fridge for one month.See? That was easy. Once done, you should have plenty of garlic confit to make a handful of recipes. Don’t know what to do with the confit? Here are a few quick and easy suggestions to get you started.
- Vinaigrette – You only need three or four cloves of confit to make an awesome vinaigrette for your salads. If you want, you can get some of the oil used to preserve the cloves and add it in for even more flavor. Just mix the confit with some vinegar and you should be all set.
- Sandwiches – Because garlic confit becomes tender as it soaks in the oil for a few weeks, the cloves become tender compared what you get straight from a garlic head. This tenderness makes it possible to “spread” the clove on certain food such as toasted bread sandwiches. The garlicky flavor is a perfect match for most sandwich-friendly meat so you can’t go wrong with confit whether it’s ham or spam.
- Pizza – If you compare garlic confit to regular garlic cloves, you’ll notice that the taste is more toned down. The flavor is still distinct, but it’s just enough that it doesn’t overpower other popular pizza toppings. Garlic confit works best with mild-tasting toppings such as button mushrooms, but you can actually use them with almost any other ingredient.
- Condiments – Having a movie marathon? Get more out of your chips with this awesome dip. Get one or two garlic confit cloves, use a spoon to mash them into a fine paste, and mix them with Greek yogurt and cream cheese, and then add some olive oil!
- Salad – Are you having a hard time making a salad recipe that will pair well with your vinaigrette? Get some sliced tomatoes and mix them with basil and toasted bread. As a finishing touch, get four or five garlic confit cloves and then mix them to make a healthy and tasty salad in a matter of minutes.
- Grilled Veggies – Some grilled vegetables taste bland or feel dry on their own and adding olive oil may not be enough to do the trick. Use the oil from the garlic confit and mash the cloves to a fine paste before applying it on your veggies to enhance their flavor. The grarlic also enhances the aroma of your dish, which is a big plus!
A Bit of Caution on Confit
Although garlic confit is amazing, there are still a few things to keep in mind when making the recipe from scratch. The biggest risk is botulism, a dangerous form of food poisoning. This is why it’s very important to make sure the confit is properly refrigerated after preparation and whenever not in use. Failure to do so encourages the growth of bacteria responsible for causing botulism.
If you plan on frequently making and using garlic confit, you should at least be able to spot the common symptoms related to botulism. If you feel any of these, you should stop getting cloves from the batch of confit and dispose of it ASAP:
- Dizziness several hours (usually 18-48 hours) after eating
- Vomiting and pain in the stomach or abdominal area
- Double vision or other unusual vision-related problems
- Trouble with swallowing or drinking liquids
- Dryness in the mouth
- Unusually heavy breathing and difficulty speaking
- Numbness or paralysis that gets worse over time
Botulism is potentially fatal so it’s important to get professional medical help as soon as possible.
Botulism might make you think twice about using garlic confit in your recipes, there’s little risk for it if you prepare and store the confit properly. As long as the garlic confit is properly simmered and refrigerated and the jar is properly sterilized, you shouldn’t even have to worry about food poisoning. Remember, garlic confit can stay in the fridge for up to a month, so just keep track of when you made the confit and you should be safe.
Garlic confit may not be as fancy as some ingredients, but anybody with experience in making food will agree that its versatility more than makes up for that fact. Whether you want to add flavor, aroma, or even texture to a dish, garlic confit will usually be more than enough for the task.