Thomas Keller

Garlic Confit

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I love garlic.  There, I said it.  What’s not to love?  And what I especially love about this recipe is how simple it is.  Plus it’s so useful since it has so many applications.  You could put it in salads, really into any dish you might need, you could just spread it on some toast, or you could just get a fork and go to town.  And you could use the oil to cook, to flavor dishes, or to make a salad dressing.

The garlic takes on a nice sweetness when cooked, much like when it is roasted.  In this application though, it is much more subtle.

For those who might not know, a confit is a preparation that helps preserve food by covering it in a layer of fat or oil.  An example is duck confit where the duck is cooked in the rendered duck fat, allowed to cool while submerged, and stored in the cooled duck fat.  This preserves the meat without having to refrigerate it.  Probably has its roots back to a time when refrigeration wasn’t as common as it is today, but that’s just a guess.  Making this recipe follows the same principle.

This recipe is from Chef Thomas Keller’s book Ad Hoc.  His restaurant that folks think of is of course the world renown French Laundry.  But there is a whole group of restaurants in his portfolio, including Ad Hoc and Bouchon Bistro and Bakery.  The list of ingredients is so simple — garlic and canola oil.  That’s it!  And if you love garlic, you definitely need to add this to your basic repertoire.  I did change the amounts a little bit, just because I wanted to make a little bit more than the recipe calls for.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups peeled garlic cloves
  • enough canola oil to cover

1.  Put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan.  Pour enough oil to completely cover immerse them in oil by about an inch.

2.  Place on medium-high heat.  Cook the garlic very gently; only small bubbles should come up through the oil when cooking, but the bubbles should not break the surface.  Adjust the heat as necessary.  Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring about every 5 or so, until tender.

3.  Remove from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.  Store the garlic in the refrigerator in a covered container, submerged in the oil.  Should last about a week.