Garlic Confit

I'm not sure if anyone has written an ode to garlic confit, but if I was a poet, I might just pen one.

Garlic confit is sweet, savory, spreadable, and subtly rich. As a flavor component, the magic is in how garlic confit is able to play a supporting role where its brash raw sibling would be overpowering. Pizza, roasted vegetables, pasta, dressings - the applications for both the cloves and cooking oil are endless. You will almost always find a container of garlic confit in my refrigerator or freezer.

Though it may sound fancy and possibly complicated, garlic confit is very straightforward. "Confit" is just food that has been preserved or slowly cooked in fat. Duck, bacon, and tomato confit (to name a few) are all good examples. In terms of this recipe, the Gjelina version has 4 ingredients, takes 15 minutes to prep, and cooks in about an hour. For that minimal effort you'll end up with a "secret" ingredient that lasts for weeks or months (depending on how you store it) and you'll wonder where it has been all of your culinary life.

Garlic Confit is part of my Recipe Card series. Posts are shorter in nature and will only feature the recipe, instructions, and tips. The series is an opportunity to feature simpler dishes that I plan to reference down the road.

Milliken Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Recipe Tips

Confit Baby Steps

You can absolutely cut this recipe down or in half if 8 heads of garlic is more than you expect to use. The key is to ensure that the garlic cloves are submerged in oil. For smaller quantities, try using a large ramekin or other narrow but high-sided baking vessel. I've done this with great results.

Blonde vs. Brown

The pictured garlic confit was cooked to the "blonde" stage. Soft and spreadable but without much or any browning. In the Gjelina cookbook, Chef Lett suggests cooking the garlic until it's lightly browned around the edges. That's normally what I do, but on the day these photos were taken I had to pull the garlic out of the oven a little early. Either way you can't go wrong.

Farmers | Artisans

I make an effort to source from local California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the talented folks who contributed to this dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil or enough to cover the garlic
  • 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Move the rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 350.
  • In an oven-safe dish, combine the peeled garlic cloves, enough olive oil to cover, 12 fresh thyme sprigs, and 2 bay leaves. Note: Ensure that the garlic cloves are completely submerged in oil.
  • Place the dish on the lined baking sheet and bake until the garlic is softened but not disintegrating (45 minutes to an hour). Note: The garlic should spread easily.
  • Cool the garlic confit in the oil then remove the thyme and bay leaves.
  • Garlic confit can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several weeks or it can be frozen. Make sure that the garlic is submerged in oil at all times. Do not store garlic confit at room temperature.

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