In the world of preserving foods most people know about canning and pickling. But there is a long standing tradition in many cultures of preserving foods in oil as well. One of my favorite recipes is a very simple one called Garlic Confit.
I love this recipe because it’s basically two recipes in one. You get the joy of the actual garlic. It’s soft and buttery. Then you get an herb infused oil that can be used in a multitude of dishes. Garlic Confit is like hitting the culinary lottery. Two recipes from 2 or 3 ingredients. Amazing. Not to mention, the smell of this recipe when it’s cooking is incredible.
Basically you take cloves of garlic and slowly cook them submerged in oil. You cook them in the oven on low heat until fully tender. You want a low and slow cooking method for this. This low heat prevents the oil from overheating and breaking down. It also preserves the garlic. The pieces will be very tender and can be used in all kinds of recipes.
Fresh Garlic Vs. Peeled
You can use fresh cloves of garlic or you can use pre peeled. Either will work fine. I have made this with fresh and pre-peeled and I can honestly say I would use pre-peeled. Unless you really are one of those people who are extremely particular about freshness. While it’s true that fresher will taste better, it’s a lot of work. I mean a lot! It took me an hour and a half to peel the garlic for this recipe. It takes 30 seconds to open the pre-peeled. The decisions up to you.
Using Herbs to Infuse the Oil
The oil can be used for many applications as well. My favorite being rosemary garlic potatoes. So in this recipe we will use fresh rosemary sprigs. I find fresh herbs are easier to remove. If you wanted to keep this recipe really simple, you could skip the herbs altogether. But don’t be afraid to use any of your favorite herbs. It makes such fantastic oil when you do. You could use dry herbs but they will end up needing to be strained from your final product. As long as you don’t mind that, go for it.
Some of my favorite herb combinations are:
How to Make Garlic Confit
Start by putting your peeled garlic in a baking pan. Put in equal parts oil, or enough to completely cover your garlic. Add your herbs and spices and cook low and slow for an hour and a half. Make sure to check on these half way through. If any of the cloves are not under the oil during cooking. Stir them in.
You want to start checking if they are done after about an hour. I find an hour and a half works well. They are done once they can be easily pierced with a knife. They should be soft but not mushy. Once they are done remove any herbs and discard.
An Important Word About Storage
This is super important. Once these cool, they must be stored in the refrigerator completely covered with the oil to prevent botulism. If the olive oil solidifies its fine. You can leave it on the counter to soften. You can also run it under warm water as well. Just remember to put back in the fridge.
When stored properly with the oil fully covering the garlic, these will last 4 weeks or more in the fridge. But If they start to look off or smell off after any length of time in your fridge, toss them. I repeat toss them! This rule applies to most foods, but especially garlic and oil.
If you are concerned about not using them fast enough, you can leave a small portion in the fridge and freeze the rest in an airtight container. It should last 6+ months in the freezer. Be sure to check out my other oil recipe for Lactose and Casein Free Butter Oil.
Herbed Garlic Confit (2 Recipes in 1)
- 8-16 Oz Fresh Garlic Pre peeled or bulb is fine
- 8-16 Oz Olive Oil Regular olive oil will taste more neutral. EVOO will impart more of the flavors of the oil to the recipe, which you may or may not want.
- 2-3 Sprigs Fresh Herbs Any you like will do. Dried herbs will work but will leave bits of herb in your food.
- Put garlic in an oven safe dish.
- Put in Fresh Herbs.
- Cover with Olive Oil.
- Bake at 225° for 1½ hours. Check after 1 hour to see if it’s done. Garlic should be very soft but not fall apart.
- Once it cools remove the herbs. You MUST store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the oil completely covers the garlic.