We think you’ll find these sweetly fragrant cloves of garlic confit goodness to be quite irresistible. The author, the famed Alain Ducasse, claims that the tender cloves won’t leave you with bad breath. We can’t promise you that, but we can promise that you may start using them in countless ways: whisked into vinaigrettes, slathered on crostini, smashed into mashed potatoes, stirred into dips, incorporated into eggs of all sorts, mashed into pan sauces, even fancied up as a hostess gift in a lovely jar. And, as Ducasse notes, when the garlic is gone, save that infused oil for drizzling and dipping and sautéing. Any which way, we think you’ll find these garlic cloves to be pretty darn finger-lickin’ good.–Renee Schettler

LC Finger Lickin’ Good Note

We said the garlic confit cloves are finger-lickin’ good, not finger fishin’ good. Meaning, of course, it’s best to fish the cloves out of the jar with a spoon rather than your fingers to prevent cooties or other contaminants from infiltrating your confit. Not trying to insult your sensibilities or your sense of manners or anything, just saying….

A pint-sized canning jar filled with garlic confit, sprigs of thyme and rosemary, and a partially separated head of garlic lying beside the jar.

Garlic Confit

5 / 4 votes
Garlic confit is a classic French dish that you'll get so much use out of–you'll wonder how you lived without it. A handful of ingredients and you end up with an amazing go-to condiment.
David Leite
CourseCondiments
CuisineFrench
Servings24 servings
Calories5 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Equipment

  • 1 pint jar with lid

Ingredients 

  • 3 heads garlic
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (optional)
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions 

  • Separate the cloves of garlic, removing any that are either much larger or much smaller than the rest and reserving them for another use. Remove the thick outer skin and the papery husk from each clove but leave the tight-fitting covering intact. Place the cloves in a deep saucepan.
  • Add the thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, and salt to the garlic in the pan. Add just enough oil to barely cover the garlic cloves and place the pan over very low heat. The oil should gently tremble at just under a simmer and certainly not boil. Leave the garlic to cook like this for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cloves are uniformly tender. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
  • Transfer the contents of the pan—the garlic cloves, the aromatics, and the oil—to a clean jar. Screw on the lid and keep it tightly closed in the refrigerator. Take out the cloves with a small spoon as you need them, and close the lid tightly. The garlic confit will keep in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.
Alain Ducasse Nature

Adapted From

Alain Ducasse Nature: Simple, Healthy, and Good

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 5 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 0.2 gFat: 0.02 gSaturated Fat: 0.005 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.001 gSodium: 146 mgFiber: 0.1 gSugar: 0.04 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Alain Ducasse. Photo © 2012 Francoise Nicol. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is my new favorite garlic for spreading on a chunk of good bread or stirring into a bean spread. I’ve always been a roasted garlic fan, but truth be told, I’ve been known to scorch roasted garlic if I’m not paying attention to the timer. This was not only just as simple—well, once the heat was properly adjusted (I’m lucky to have a low burner that actually maintains a constant low temperature)—but it cooked with little more than an occasional glance and produced better flavor. I think it was the gentler heat. I love the combination of herbs that infuses the oil and also flavors the garlic itself. A perfect pantry basic.

I’ll never not know what to do with extra garlic again! This is just as easy as making roasted garlic but without the mess. The cloves become so soft and sweet, and the flavored oil is a bonus. I spread some cloves on toasted baguette and it was heavenly. I’ll be adding this garlic to mashed potatoes next time I make them. The oil would be delicious on a simple salad. A chef friend of my husband also makes a confit like this; however, he also adds some dried tomatoes to the mix. I’m going to try that next time. I will definitely make this again. I think it would make a lovely hostess gift if you used a pretty jar and tied a ribbon around it!

This recipe was simply wonderful. It was so very easy to make, and the results were delicious, sweet, and mellow. The garlic made its way into almost every meal for almost a week! It works perfectly as a substitute for mayonnaise and was great on toast, in sandwiches, even mixed into scrambled eggs.

This is a wonderful way to enjoy the sweet creaminess of roasted garlic. The directions are simple to follow and the cooking time is right on. Even if a few cloves are smaller than the rest, as long as you keep the burner on low, they will all cook perfectly without browning. This method provides a huge benefit versus roasting the garlic in the oven as you now have this delicious, aromatic olive oil to use as you please. Basically, it’s a staple.

A friend of mine had given me “seconds” garlic from the local farmers’ market. I’d been thinking about trying out this recipe, and I’m so glad that I did. It doesn’t require much effort besides pulling apart the cloves of garlic and glancing at the pot every once in a while to make sure the garlic stays at a gentle simmer. I didn’t have any rosemary on hand, so I just doubled the amount of thyme. I’ve been using the garlic in all sorts of things: vinaigrettes, spreads, pesto, and sautéed with vegetables. I can’t wait to use up the rest of garlic and move on to cooking with the leftover oil.

The hardest part of making this garlic confit was separating and peeling the garlic and figuring out what constituted “too small.” I just went ahead and threw in all the cloves. It turns out that “too thin” might be the better descriptor, but I’m not sure. I liked all the cloves. That is, I ate one of the ones that might have been too small, and it was fine. I threw some too thin and some too small into the pasta sauce on the stove and it was all just fine. They melted into the sauce and gave it a smooth garlic flavor. The cooking was difficult to keep it at a simmer, but I’d just use a deeper, rather than wider, pot next time.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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16 Comments

  1. V, we’ve never tried the pressure canning process with garlic confit, so we can’t confirm the timing, but there are other sources online that confirm processing full pint jars for 2 hours. Half pint jars would be significantly shorter.

  2. We often make garlic confit but we use duck fat—I know, I know, that’s insane. But SO good! I cook duck often enough to have a stockpile of duck fat in the fridge at all times and tried a little garlic experiment and we’ve never looked back!! However, we just came into a 5-litre container of very good olive oil, I might have to branch out. I do find that the duck fat makes it too “greasy” for a lot of uses; the flavor is there for sure but I think that olive oil might be less heavy.

    1. Jenny, I am a huge proponent of duck fat and so the last thing that comes to mind when I read what you just wrote is insane! More like envy, actually! Thanks so much for sharing that trick. And yes, I agree that you’ll find olive oil to be a touch less heavy. Which just gives you more duck fat for so many other countless uses.

  3. I find it very hard to keep the oil from getting too hot on my gas stove. I have been making this in the oven at 250°F for 2 hours. I have also frozen the cloves in a small jar when making a large batch. I reuse the flavorful oil when marinating cubes of feta, in vinaigrettes, etc.

    1. Helen, I love your oven approach to this recipe. Brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing that. For what it’s worth, what I do when I have a hard time keeping a low flame on our gas stove is I stack a couple of the burner grates on top of one another to create a little distance between the flame and the pan. Works like a charm. Just be careful that you have them stacked directly atop one another to create a stable foundation.