Deeply aromatic and resonant with the rich, complexly sweet flavor of garlic, this easy sous vide garlic confit recipe is a dream to make. It takes only about 5 minutes of active time in the kitchen before tossing jars of garlic, oil, and herbs into a water bath. And in a few hours, you'll have a rich confit that's perfect for spreading onto bread, swirling into soups, or tossing into stews.
What is garlic confit?
Confit is a culinary term that means to preserve food in fat. Accordingly, garlic confit is garlic cooked slowly and preserved in fat. This process gives it a rich and resonant garlic flavor, complex sweetness, and a meltingly tender texture. Most recipes cook and preserve the garlic with extra virgin olive oil, but others will use clarified butter or ghee, or even lard.
Why sous vide?
Making confit is a slow process that requires low, even temperatures. While you can make it in a saucepan on the stove, or even in the oven, making sous vide allows the garlic to develop even richer flavors while retaining the complex integrity of the extra virgin olive oil. As a result, you have more deeply flavorful garlic and lighter, better-tasting oil.
In addition, making sous vide garlic confit is a fairly hands-off project. Once you tuck the jars of garlic and olive oil in the water bath, you can leave them unattended until they're finished - four hours later.
You don't need to monitor or adjust the temperature, because the immersion circulator does that for you. And that means there's no risk of accidentally burning your garlic while you're distracted.
Tips for Making Sous Vide Garlic Confit
Making sous vide garlic confit is a simple process. After all, you only need to toss your garlic into a jar and cover it with olive oil before tucking it into a water bath, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Use clean, unblemished garlic. There's always a temptation to preserve food just as it begins to turn, but your garlic confit can only be as good as the ingredients that go into it. So use fresh, clean garlic free from soft spots or other blemishes.
- Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Not only is it rich in healthy fats, but it's also high in antioxidants. That means better flavor for your garlic confit. A well-rounded, buttery, and mellow-flavored olive oil works particularly well.
- Add herbs that you like to round out the flavor. Rosemary works well, and so does thyme. You can also add dried chilies, too.
- Keep it in the fridge and use it within a few weeks. As with many foods preserved in fat, there's always the risk of spoilage. So transfer it to the fridge and use it within 2 weeks, or tuck it into the freezer and use it within 3 months.
- Use an immersion circulator. While there are plenty of sous vide hacks for your slow cooker or pressure cooker, they all have trouble maintaining the constant, circulating temperature required for sous vide.
- Make big batches. This recipe scales up very well. So if you have an abundance of garlic, make several jars. And toss them in the freezer for when you need them.
How do you use it?
Garlic confit is a condiment. As such, you can use it to add flavor to a dish in place of minced garlic or roasted garlic. And you can also serve it on its own on a charcuterie board or appetizer tray with olives and cured meats, or slather it onto a slice of whole-grain, no-knead sourdough bread.
Here are some more ideas:
- Use it in place of chopped garlic in soups and stews like Farro and Cranberry Bean Soup or Shellfish Cioppino.
- Toss it in with sprouted chickpeas for homemade sprouted hummus.
- Purée the garlic and oil together, and use it as a sauce for pizza.
- Toss root veggies with the garlic and a spoonful of leftover oil and roast them in the oven.
- Drizzle homemade socca with a little bit and then top it with a fresh herb salad.
- Spoon the oil leftover from making sous vide garlic confit over your salad
- Or add a few cloves of garlic to your homemade mayonnaise.
- Smash a few cloves over this simple hearty keto seed bread that's packed with flax and pepitas.