Monday, April 18, 2011
This kicks serious ass on a grilled cheese sandwich.
"Confit" is a fancy term for "preserved in its own fat." In the case of meat, duck confit or rabbit confit or whatever, again, means the meat preserved in the animal's own fat. In the case of garlic or onion or lemon or whatever confit, it means (generally) gently cooking/preserving the item in question in another source of fat, usually olive oil.
This recipe makes a lot--I divided by 3 and made 1/3 of the original amount. I ended up with an awful lot of garlic-flavored olive oil at the end, more than I needed for the actual confit, but that's okay. Garlic-flavored olive oil can be used up pretty easily.
3 cups peeled garlic cloves
3 cups olive oil
The quickest way to peel garlic cloves is to crush them with the flat side of your knife and simply remove the peel. But DON'T do that here--you want the cloves whole, not crushed. You can either drop the cloves into a vat of rapidly boiling water for 20 seconds, then remove to an ice bath (the skins will slip right off once they cool down) or you can cut off the root tip of each clove and then pretend you're giving it an Indian burn (twist the peel in two opposite directions) and that will usually take it right off as well.
Once the cloves are peeled, put in a heavy saucepan and add the oil (the oil should cover the cloves by 1"). Heat over medium; when small bubbles appear, cut back to low heat and very gently cook for 40 minutes. The oil should never boil, or get more than very small bubbles. Remove from heat, let cool, and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Note: the oil will solidify in the fridge. Let the confit come up to room temperature before using.