Garlic Confit + Seasoning Your Pan
Post by Anna
There are some especially satisfying Tupp Ups that accomplish many different goals in the kitchen. I tend to rely on this logic when buying things like Bonne Maman jam in bulk (we could always use more charming angular glass jars to drink water/juice/whiskey out of) or coconut oil (I sometimes rub down with it). Garlic confit is one of my favorite things to make in this camp, and I will outline its not one, but FOUR purposes below:
- Use up the garlic that is overflowing the kitchen counter and depositing leafy garlic scraps all over the house
- Make a delicious foodstuff (garlic confit)
- Make another delicious foodstuff (garlic-infused oil)
- Season a cast-iron pan
You may be wondering: what is a confit and why does it sound so bougie and complicated?
I thought the same thing when my buddy Max first introduced it to me. Max, an excellent cook who far surpasses Molly or I in technical skill, decided to whip this up while casually churning out fresh pasta in my kitchen last spring. He explained that the word confit, coming from the French word “to conserve,” is an old method of preserving meat by cooking it in its own fat, which is by default, delicious. Applied to any vegetable, the result is also exceptionally flavorful with a succulent, velvety texture. I chose garlic because it seems to be the thing everyone always buys too much of, and is amazing when thrown into a pasta, on a pizza, in a tapenade, or slathered on good old bread and cheese. It’s on.
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 40 minutes / Keeps for 1 week in the fridge
WHAT YOU NEED:
- A few heads of garlic (2 if large, 3 if small)
- A bottle of good olive oil
- Herbs for infusing, if you wish (adding a few rosemary or thyme springs would be nice)
- Deep saucepan, preferably cast iron
WHAT YOU DO:
- The most annoying step is dealing with all the garlic gloves. I gently roll them under a large kitchen knife and pinch the ends to remove the skins, leaving the cloves in tact. *This confit doesn’t keep for too long, so be conservative.
- Pour the olive oil until it is a few inches deep in the pan, and turn heat on high. Watch closely that it doesn’t burn. When tiny bubbles form on the surface, add garlic on turn down to low. Be sure cloves are completely submerged.
- Let the garlic cloves cook slowly on the stovetop for appx. 30-40 minutes, or in the oven on 200 for about 40-50 minutes until they are completely tender when pierced with a fork. Watch to be sure they do not burn!
- *Storing the garlic can be tricky, because of the perfect conditions garlic-in-oil create for rapid growth of botulism spores (!). Honestly, giving someone botulism is my worst nightmare. I have anxiety dreams about it. So to be safe, take care to store in the fridge and not out on the counter, and use it up within a week. That shouldn’t be difficult, since this shit is so delicious. Use the remaining oil in place of olive oil for cooking up basics like greens and eggs. They will thank you.
CARING FOR CAST IRON:
Once we went cast iron, it was hard to go back. Aside from avoiding all the fun cancer causing toxins in non-stick pans, cast iron produces a bread crust like no other, allows for simultaneous stovetop and baking tricks, and improves the overall ‘rustica’ factor of any kitchen fantasy (mine below). The process of cooking oil ‘slow and low,’ helps to season the pan, locking fat inside the metal to produce an oily patina that helps keep food from sticking, naturally. The longer you cook properly on it, the more of a dream it is to use.
A few basic rules of caring for cast iron:
- Season the pan periodically, I try to once every few months
- Do not use soap or leave water sitting in the pan. Soap kills the nice coating you have on your seasoned pan, though it can be resurrected by doing step 1. To remove food scraps, scrub first with a non-soapy brush and hot water. Then boil an inch of water until it evaporates, which lifts most of the remaining food.
- After use and washing, be sure to thoroughly dry the pan, and rub down with a Tbsp. of oil (I use sunflower, which leaves a neutral taste for the next project). This locks in the oils and ensures that the pan remains seasoned.
For a more detailed, intensive bible on how to love your cast iron, check out this guide.