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Garlic confit is a cooking technique in which garlic is cooked slowly in oil until it becomes soft, fragrant, and caramelized. The resulting garlic cloves are mellow, and buttery, and can be easily spread or mashed. The oil infused with garlic flavor is also useful for cooking or as a flavorful addition to dressings and sauces.
Garlic confit is believed to have originated in the south of France, where it is a popular ingredient in traditional Provençal cuisine. The slow-cooking process allows the garlic to release its natural oils, resulting in a more complex flavor profile. It can be used in many dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and spreads, and can also be spread on bread or used as a condiment. Garlic confit can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
It is generally better to use fresh, unpeeled garlic cloves instead of pre-peeled garlic in garlic confit because fresh garlic cloves have a more intense flavor and aroma than pre-peeled garlic. Pre-peeled garlic cloves are often treated with preservatives to keep them fresh, and they may have been peeled for a while before you purchase them, which can cause them to lose their flavor and aroma. The peeling process can also damage the cloves and release some of their juices, which can result in a slightly bitter taste.
On the other hand, using fresh, unpeeled garlic cloves allows you to control the quality and freshness of the garlic, and the slow cooking process helps to bring out the natural sweetness and flavor of the cloves. Furthermore, the peels of garlic cloves contain beneficial compounds, such as allicin, that have potential health benefits. These compounds are released during the cooking process and contribute to the garlic confit's overall flavor and aroma.
Overall, while pre-peeled garlic cloves may be more convenient, using fresh, unpeeled garlic cloves will result in a garlic confit with a more intense and complex flavor.
4 garlic heads, all cloves peeled
3 bay leaves
4-5 springs thyme
1 cup olive oil
In a small baking dish, combine garlic cloves, sage, thyme, and olive oil (more as needed to cover cloves). I used a 2in x 5in size tray. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.