WHAT IS GARLIC CONFIT?
The term “confit” comes from the French (roughly translating as “to preserve”) and refers to slow-cooking an ingredient, traditionally in its own fat or syrup. While it typically has been associated with preserving meats such as duck, the technique also can transform garlic to be richer and more mellow. To do it, slivered garlic is gently slow-cooked in a generous amount of fat, either butter or olive oil or both, until it is jammy and sweet and loses the bitterness and bite of raw garlic.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROASTED GARLIC AND GARLIC CONFIT?
Confiting and roasting garlic both tame its bite to create a sweeter, more subtle flavor and creamy, spreadable texture. The big difference is in the browning—or lack thereof. With confit, the low and slow simmer in fat cooks the sliced cloves evenly until they darken slightly, coaxing out natural sugars for a more mellow flavor. Roasting a sliced head of garlic in the dry heat of an oven caramelizes the exposed cloves, which can produce flavorful browning. But roasting can easily go wrong, and there’s a fine line between flavorful browning and overcooked bitterness. Confiting removes much of the guesswork. Another benefit of confit is that the oil left behind is richly flavored and has all manner of delicious uses.
GARLIC CONFIT USES
There’s not much that wouldn’t benefit from a spoonful of garlic confit. It works in any instance where you need a burst of bold garlic—it’s a one-stroke flavor booster. When used as a dip, to finish a dish or lightly sauté, the tender slices of garlic stay intact. But if you keep stirring, they will break down a bit and melt into any savory dish.
18 EASY WAYS TO USE GARLIC CONFIT
- Building Block Flavor: Add a spoonful to a skillet of onions to build a soup, sauce or stir-fry.
- Basting Meats: Drizzle a spoonful (or three) of the flavorful oil over grilled or roasted meats while it rests after cooking. It’ll blend with the meat’s juices once sliced to create a nearly instant sauce.
- Blanched Greens: Toss simple blanched or sautéed greens with confit and finish with lemon juice and coarse salt.
- Roasted Vegetables: Dress raw vegetables with a spoonful of the oil, salt and pepper, roast and add sliced confit to the cooked vegetables with a squirt of lemon juice or spritz of vinegar and pinch of coarse salt.
- Grilled Cheese: Spread a thin layer of the garlic inside the sandwich and use the oil for frying sandwiches.
- Eggs: Fry eggs in a spoonful of the oil (and top with a few sliced cloves, if you like).
- Pasta Sauce: Add a spoonful or two of confit to your favorite jarred marinara.
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio: For nearly instant spaghetti aglio e olio, toss al dente spaghetti with garlic confit and reserved pasta water to loosen. Add crushed red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper and chopped parsley, to taste (and, of course, some grated Parmesan).
- Pizza: Scatter sliced cloves over your homemade — or carryout — pizza for an extra kick of garlic flavor.
- Garlic Bread: Blend equal parts garlic confit with softened butter, smear thickly across slabs of crusty bread and bake until crisp.
- Polenta: Stir a spoonful of confit and its oil into polenta or a simple risotto and finish with finely grated Parmesan.
- Garlic Shrimp: Sauté shrimp with a spoonful of garlic confit and extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of lemon juice
- Burgers: Mix a spoonful of garlic confit into your hamburger mix.
- Corn on the cob: Dress hot corn on the cob with the confit oil or blend cloves into softened butter with a squirt of lime juice or a dash of Old Bay seasoning.
- Garlic Lemon Chicken: Mash up a few slices with some of the oil and mix with lemon juice, chili flakes and oregano. Rub onto chicken parts and roast.
- Bruschetta: Sauté with fresh diced tomatoes and basil and spoon onto toasted crusty bread.
- Garlic-Herb Potatoes: Toss raw potatoes with a spoonful of the oil — and extra olive oil if necessary — salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast until well browned, then toss with sliced cloves and chopped fresh herbs to taste — we particularly like fresh parsley and thyme (the garlic will burn if roasted with the potatoes).
- Tarka: Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil from the jar in a small skillet over medium and add a pinch each of crushed cumin, mustard and coriander seeds. Bring to a simmer, then drizzle over cooked lentils, rice, or steamed or roasted vegetables.
WHERE TO BUY GARLIC CONFIT
While the building blocks of garlic confit are simple—only garlic and fat, at its most basic—at Milk Street we elevated it into a pantry powerhouse with spices and aromatics. The Milk Street Garlic Confit is a rich, mellow, fuss-free garlic flavor booster. We married rich Italian extra-virgin olive oil and buttery Indian ghee with warming Mediterranean bay leaves and Turkish Aleppo pepper. A bright tinge of lemon balances the richness, and its acidity makes our confit shelf stable (unlike most homemade confit).
Order a jar of our premium garlic confit today and try out these recipes!
HOW TO MAKE GARLIC CONFIT
If you’d rather do it yourself, making your own garlic confit is simple, and it takes less than half the time as roasting while making less mess. Our homemade garlic confit recipe comes together in just 20 minutes and uses two complementary fats instead of the usual one for a more complex, well-rounded flavor. You also can use it as a template to play around with different flavorings. But whether you make your own or buy it from us, this instant flavor booster is like liquid gold.