Why It Works
- Slowly cooking the garlic at less than a simmer gives it plenty of time to grow sweet and soft.
- Storing the garlic confit in the refrigerator, and only for a limited time, helps avoid any food-borne illness risks.
Making garlic confit is a great way to use up any extra cloves you have kicking around, and is as easy as slowly cooking them in oil. The firm and pungent cloves give way, turning as soft as warm butter and taking on a flavor that's mellow and sweet.
- Garlic cloves, peeled and root ends trimmed
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed (see note)
In a saucepan, cover garlic with enough oil to fully submerge it.
Set over medium heat and bring to a bare simmer. Lower heat to maintain the barest simmer, so that you see some tiny bubbles on the garlic, but it's not actively frying in the oil.
Cook, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain this minimal level of cooking activity, until the garlic is buttery soft and tan in color, 1 to 3 hours (exactly how long it takes will depend on the garlic you're using, including it size and age, and how hot the oil is; raising the heat will move things faster but also shortchange you on the flavor development).
Transfer garlic confit and the cooking oil to a clean heatproof container, cover with plastic, and refrigerate immediately.
Refrigerated in its oil, the garlic confit can be kept for up to 2 weeks.
We love the flavor of olive oil with the garlic, but you can use any neutral vegetable oil for this, such as grape seed or canola oil; you an also use a more affordable olive oil such as pure olive oil.