Garlic cloves are very gently poached in olive oil—transforming them into delicate, sweet and tender pieces of garlic. The confit cloves can be used to flavor soups, sauces, pastas, pizza, vinaigrettes, marinades, mashed potatoes or as a delicious spread.
Peel the garlic (*see notes below). Ultimately, the amount of garlic does not matter. In fact, you could confit from as little as a few cloves up to hundreds of cloves. What is important is that the garlic is completely submerged in olive oil.
Add the oil. The amount of oil added will depend on the size of pot used. The larger the pot, the more oil you will need; therefore, try to use a relatively small pot.
Heat the garlic over low heat. The oil should not reach above 210°F (100°C) and only small bubbles should form. As the oil heats up, bits of skin may float to the surface; skim them with a mesh strainer. Gently cook the garlic for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it is very tender and the cloves look pale-golden. Remove pan from the heat and set aside. Let the cloves cool in the oil. Strain the oil into a sealable container and add the cloves of garlic. Refrigerate for one to two weeks.
Alternatively, the garlic can be slowly poached in a low oven. Again, the temperature should not go above 210°F (100°C).
Bring garlic confit to room temperature before using, as the oil will firm up when refrigerated. Always use a clean spoon to remove the garlic.
The subtle and rich flavor will be infused into the oil, which can also be used in any number of dishes.
Three Ways to Peel the Garlic:
Bring a pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a sieve and dip them in the hot water for 20 seconds. Remove from the boiling water and immediately place the sieve with the garlic cloves in an ice water bath. As soon as the cloves are cooled, cut off the root ends and peel away the garlic skins. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Place the cloves of garlic into a large stainless-steel mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with another mixing bowl, making sure that the edges meet. Then shake the heck out of the garlic. The banging of the cloves against the bowls will remove most, if not all, of the skins.
Buy garlic that has already been peeled. If buying already peeled garlic, be sure to buy really fresh organic garlic cloves. If you have a Whole Foods Market near you, they typically sell it fresh daily.