Gourmet gifts are always well received, and make a fantastic present for those friends-who-have-everything, or as a practical offering to hosts you might be staying with over the festive period. We have plenty of edible treats in store at The Garlic Farm for you to choose from, including hampers packed with all our favourite garlic condiments. Sometimes though a home-made gift is particularly welcome, and our Garlic Confit recipe couldn't be easier to make.
So what exactly is garlic confit, we hear you ask? Well, confiting is an ancient French method of preservation, and is often used to tenderise meat. But you can, in fact, confit any ingredient, and garlic confit results in sweet, softened cloves that will enhance almost any dish you serve. Try spreading a few cloves thickly onto ciabatta for a simple appetiser with a deceptively sophisticated flavour, or add to mashed potato to take your pomme purée to another level; cold roast chicken and lamb chops both benefit from a spoonful of garlic confit - in fact, everything from soup and pasta sauces to salad dressings, shop-bought dips and mayonnaise will be improved with the addition of a confited clove or two. And once you've consumed all the garlic, you're left with deliciously garlic-infused olive oil, aka liquid gold!
This recipe only requires three ingredients: garlic, olive oil, and a fresh woody herb such as thyme or rosemary - which results in fabulous-tasting cloves that are as soft as butter when you squeeze them out of their papery skins. It's so easy, and so tasty, that we think garlic confit could become your new larder staple!
• Separate the cloves from two heads of Isle of Wight garlic - there is no need to peel them, unless you wish to. In any case, peeling them after confiting is easier than peeling raw cloves.
• Place the cloves into a small saucepan, along with your chosen herb, and cover in olive oil - roughly 175ml for two large bulbs of garlic.
• Heat until the oil is almost simmering, then turn it down to the lowest possible heat - you want to poach the garlic, rather than cook it. Keep a close eye on the temperature.
• After about 45 minutes, the cloves should be soft and tender. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add to a clean, sterilised jar. Pour the olive oil on top, adding more oil if necessary to ensure the cloves are completely submerged.
• Seal and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Use within a month.
Health note: keep the jar of garlic confit chilled, and the cloves submerged in oil. Always use a clean spoon to remove the garlic to avoid contamination. Very rarely, if garlic is contaminated with other foodstuffs, toxic bacteria such as botulinum spores can develop. If you use clean, sterilised jars and follow the above precautions, including refrigeration, there is no risk of food-borne illness.
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