This ingredient appears all the time on my pages. It’s not something you buy, so don’t freak if you’re in the store and can’t find it. You make garlic confit the same way you make any confit – by gently cooking the food in fat.
Why confit garlic instead of just using it raw? Often, you don’t want the intensity and heat of raw garlic in your dish, but seek only its savory, sweet, nutty quality. Garlic confit is not dissimilar to roasted garlic, but the flavor is far more subtle as the garlic is not caramelized or otherwise browned, and you do not risk burning the garlic – as sometimes happens when roasting – so you get nothing but pure, rich, sweet garlic taste, and no harsh bitterness.
Garlic confit is easy if you can get your hands on peeled garlic, because peeling is the bitch. I certainly have peeled heads after cloves of garlic for confit, but a far easier solution is to find a place with high peeled garlic turnover and buy it there. I rely on the Korean supermarkets, H Mart and Lotte, for my peeled garlic needs – they stock it in vast quantities and turn it over quickly, so the cloves are fresh and plump, not shriveled. I also have seen peeled cloves in the produce section at Trader Joe’s. And, occasionally, Whole Foods carries Christopher Ranch brand peeled garlic.
Store it in the refrigerator and make what you can use within two weeks. Do not attempt to vacuum seal, can, or otherwise preserve the garlic or its oil; doing so subjects you to a low risk of botulism.
garlic cloves, peeled
canola or grapeseed oil
Place the garlic cloves in a small saucepot and cover with oil. Bring just to a bare simmer and then reduce the heat so the oil does not actually simmer, but is just below the simmer. Confit the garlic until thoroughly tender – you should be able to render it to a paste with a fork when complete. The process usually takes about an hour.
Store in a tightly sealed container, with the oil, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.