Low-effort yet luxurious, garlic confit (garlic stewed in fat — in this case, olive oil) is my favorite sort of edible gift. In addition to its ease of preparation, it's also a welcome change from the all-chocolate everything that's common this time of year — though I'm certainly not denouncing fudge, truffles, or thumbprint cookies. To top it off, garlic confit is the gift that keeps on giving, thanks to its highly adaptable nature.
Creamy and mellow, garlic confit shines wherever one might use roasted garlic. Try mashing it into butter (or the garlic oil it's packed in) and spreading it on a crusty baguette for extra-special garlic bread, add it to compound butter to top sizzling steak, whip it into mashed potatoes, blitz it with its oil for a pungent salad dressing, or tuck the cloves under the skin of roasted chicken. Its uses are near infinitesimal.
To save some frustration, substitute 2 cups' worth of refrigerated prepeeled garlic cloves for the 6 heads, or try this trick for peeling many cloves at once.
- 6 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 3 whole dried chiles, such as chiles de arbol
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan, and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes or until the garlic is tender, but not browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Divvy up the garlic cloves, herbs, and dried chiles among 3 half-pint canning jars using a slotted spoon to transfer the solid pieces. Cover all the solids with the residual oil, seal, and refrigerate for up to 4 months.
- Appetizers, Spreads
- 3 half-pint jars of garlic confit