Anthony Bourdain memorably said that if you’re too lazy to peel your own fresh garlic, you don’t deserve to eat it. In general (although not for this garlic confit recipe), I agree — especially when it comes to that nasty minced garlic preserved in citric acid, which never actually tastes like garlic at all.
For this recipe, though, I won’t judge you if you decide to buy a bag of pre-peeled whole garlic cloves (no citric acid, please). Garlic confit and garlic-infused oil can be made in bulk, and trying to deal with peeling and trimming cup after cup of garlic by hand is miserable.
With this one simple recipe, you’ll end up with both garlic confit and garlic-infused olive oil. You’ll see both appear in my recipes pretty frequently. For pizzas, feel free to use the garlic-infused olive oil in place of plain olive oil when you’re brushing it on the dough for a pizza before topping it.
Lots of recipes call for adding extra ingredients to this, either for the sake of the garlic confit itself or to infuse the oil with extra flavor. I like to keep things simple and have more control over final recipes, so I stick with just garlic.
I recommend making a big batch of this (it scales up nicely, so feel free to triple or quadruple the recipe!) and keeping it for later use. Both the garlic confit and the garlic-infused olive oil last well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (although honestly mine rarely makes it that long, because we use it so quickly). Alternatively, freeze individual portions of the garlic confit for several months.
- 1 cup peeled garlic cloves, bottom ends trimmed off
- 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil (amount may vary)
- salt to taste (I used ¼ teaspoon)
- Put the 1 cup of garlic cloves into a small pot or pan, and add enough olive oil to cover them. 1 1/2 cups of olive oil worked for me, but you may need more or less depending on the size and shape of your pot or pan.
- Put the pan on the stove over very low heat. I use my stove’s smallest burner with the flame as small as it will go.
- Cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 50-60 minutes or until the cloves are very soft and lightly golden-brown. The oil may bubble slightly on the garlic during this time, but if the oil is spitting or boiling, your heat is too high.
- Allow to cool, then strain the oil into an airtight refrigerator-safe container.
- Transfer the garlic cloves into a bowl. Technically, they’re done at this point, and you can use them as-is if you like.
- Optionally (but recommended), smash the garlic cloves with a fork and mix in salt to taste. The resulting chunky paste is amazing on pizzas.