Monday, October 29, 2012

Garlic Confit

5:35 AM Friday morning, and I am standing in my kitchen in my ratty red robe-from-hell peeling a pound and a half of big, fat, garlic cloves. The sun won't be up for at least another hour and a half, but we are truly safe from any sort of vampire invasion. This house reeks of garlic and it's my boss Matt's fault. If he hadn't shown me his copy of  Mission Street Food, by Anthony Myint and Karen Lebowitz, I wouldn't have bought a copy myself, and wouldn't be making the garlic confit from it. At 5:35 AM. It's more than a cookbook in a hard to explain way, and it makes you want to cook everything in it.

Garlic confit is like ├╝ber-roasted garlic: it's sweet, soft, mellow and pungent all at the same time. It's both a condiment and a spread, and it'll keep indefinitely in the fridge as long as the garlic is covered in oil. And the oil itself, well, oh my. Its all fabulous. There are a million ways to use the garlic, the oil or both. They'll just pop into your head as you cook.

Now, the easy way to peel a lot of  garlic is to shake a bunch of cloves  inside two metal bowls, as in this Saveur video, and that's how I did it. It's quite a workout at the crack of dawn. It is also extremely effective in two ways. It does get all that papery skin off the garlic, and it also rouses every human and animal attempting to sleep in the house. Then they realize it stinks. Such fun.

The fastest way I know to peel a lot of garlic. See video.
Once you have the garlic cloves peeled (and I guess you could buy freshly peeled garlic, but I'm cheap), the rest is very straightforward. Pop the garlic into a saucepan, salt the cloves and just barely cover the cloves with extra virgin olive oil. Bring to a simmer, and let it gently bubble intil the cloves are soft and mooshy, but just barely hold their shape.

My breakfast was a toasted baguette, with a light schmear of garlic confit, and a runny egg on top, with lots of fresh ground black pepper. Heaven.

Garlic Confit adapted from Mission Street Food

Garlic Confit

Adapted from Mission Street Food


1 lb. peeled garlic cloves
olive oil


Place the peeled garlic in a saucepan, salt it and then barely cover the garlic with olive oil. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat and then simmer on low until the garlic is soft and barely holds its shape. Let cool a bit in the pan and then place the garlic and oil into a jar. Will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

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