A query from a former roommate, prompts this post. Yeah, they still remember my cooking, the great successes, and the rather humbling failures.
The query was for a garlic preparation, that I used in pasta sauces, as a dip and spread for bread, oil for an oil and vinegar salad dressing, and a general flavor boost.
A very simple concept, toss some peeled garlic cloves into a sauce pan, cover with good olive oil and let simmer. (I did this over the pilot lights on the cooks stove. Your stove may not be that energetic. So follow the recipe)
After simmering for several hours, the garlic was just beginning to turn golden, and the oil was permeated with the flavor of the garlic and herbs.
Yes, I do seem to be mugging the French, in a dark pantry and misappropriating all their culinary secrets.
One can cold pickle garlic and herbs in vinegar for flavorful drizzle for beans, stews, or soups. Plus it is killer as a salad dressing.
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Welsh onion and Chinese onion. It is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use. It was known to ancient Egyptians and has been used as both a food flavoring and a traditional medicine. China produces some 80% of the world’s supply of garlic.
Confit is any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation.
Confit as a cooking term describes when food is cooked in grease, oil or sugar water (syrup), at a lower temperature, as opposed to deep frying. While deep frying typically takes place at temperatures of 160–230 °C (325–450 °F), confit preparations are done at a much lower temperature, such as an oil temperature of around 90 °C (200 °F), or sometimes even cooler. The term is usually used in modern cuisine to mean long slow cooking in oil or fat at low temperatures, many having no element of preservation, such as in dishes like confit potatoes.
For meat, this method requires the meat to be salted as part of the preservation process. After salting and cooking in fat, confit can last for several months or years when sealed and stored in a cool, dark place. Confit is a specialty of southwestern France.
Garlic Confit and Oil
- 4 heads Garlic Peeled
- 2 cups Olive oil
- 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
- In a 2 quart heavy saucepan over lowest heat possible, bring garlic, oil and herbs to a bare simmer
- Simmer until the garlic is knife tender, ~15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Remove for heat and cool
- Transfer garlic and herbs to a sterilized jar and cover with the oil
- The remaining oil can be used as an ingredient for dishes calling for olive oil or as a fat for sauteing.
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