I returned from our family holiday in France recently with a string of garlic bulbs bought from an artisan market.
These were young bulbs, still a bit green at the tips, but nevertheless, there were so many I didn’t want to risk any going rotten before I had chance to cook with them.
And, lo, a Google search brought me to this fantastic idea on the Food & Style website: Confit Garlic, which involves poaching the cloves in simmering oil until they are sweet and tender.
You can store the cloves in the fridge until you’re ready to use in a myriad of ways – to flavour soups, stocks and stews, or as a puree to squeeze onto chicken and steak, or on sour dough toast with some melted cheese on top.
I like to eat them whole, like sweets!
This recipe makes enough to fill a large, sterilised jar
• As many bulbs of whole garlic as you like (I used 5)
• Enough olive oil to cover them in a shallow pan
1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Set aside.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
3. Separate the bulbs into individual cloves.
4. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a sieve and dip them in the hot water for 20 seconds. Remove from the boiling water and dip the sieve with the garlic cloves in the ice water bath.
5. Allow the cloves to cool, then transfer to a chopping board.
6. With a sharp knife, cut off root ends and skin garlic (the skins should slip right off). Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
7. Place garlic cloves in a single layer in a shallow pan. Pour over the oil until all the cloves are covered.
8. Heat the pan over a medium heat and as soon as small bubbles appear, reduce heat to very low. As the oil heats up, bits of skin might float to the surface; skim them off with a mesh spatula.
9. Gently cook the garlic for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the cloves are very tender and and look pale-golden. Remove pan from heat and set aside, allowing the cloves to cool in the oil.
10. Store in an airtight container or sterilised jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use, bring the garlic confit to room temperature first.