Recently I bought pink garlic. In abundance. Let me explain, the garlic is not pink, it’s the papery skin that has a pinkish hue. I thought they look sweet and remembered mom said those were good garlic. So I ended up with way too much of them sitting in the kitchen begging to be used. Frantically, I thought of making chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, garlic soup, garlic bread and garlic ice cream. Ok, maybe not the ice cream. But when you still have abundance after making garlic dinners, preserving is the solution. So I made garlic confit.
Confit (pronounced as con-fee) is a french term for preserving food by cooking it very slowly over gentle heat. To confit garlic, you need to slow poach the peeled cloves in oil. The painful side about making garlic confit is the peeling part. If you google on how to peel garlic in 10 seconds, you will find a youtube video done by Saveur magazine’s Executive Food Editor, Todd Coleman showing you how. The method requires you to smash the head of garlic with your palm, throw them in a big bowl, cover the bowl with another big bowl and shake it with all your might. I tried it, shaking the bowl with every muscle I own and… only half of the skin came off, the skin of those bigger cloves remains stubbornly stucked. Maybe I need to shake a little harder but I am powerless… Still I’m amazed by the method, at least half of them were skinned, in 10 seconds.
So I ended up resorting to mom’s method: soak the garlic cloves in water for about 15 minutes, remove them from the water, cut off the root ends and you will be able to skin it quite easily. Though this method cannot be done in 10 seconds but still it was quite a breeze. Or anyone has a better method?
Making garlic confit is never difficult but it requires your attention. You have to ensure that it’s barely simmering and you gotta stir it frequently to prevent the cloves from darkening too fast. The garlic should not be brown but golden.
There are so much things you can do with the confit. Smashed them and add to your mashed potatoes, mix in the butter and smear on toast, use the oil as a dip for bread, salad dressing and drizzle in soups. Keep them tightly lid and they should be able to last for a week in the fridge.
Garlic confit Makes 1 cup
1 cup of peeled garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, optional
About 1 cup of olive oil or canola oil
- If using the soaking method to skin the garlic, dry the cloves with a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the cloves and black peppercorns (if using) in a small saucepan and add in the oil. The oil should cover the cloves by about 1-inch. You may need more than 1 cup depending on the size of the pan you use.
- Heat the pan over medium heat till you see small bubbles, at this point, reduce your heat to the lowest.
- Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the garlic is soft and golden, remove from heat and cool.
- Pour into a clean sterlised glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.