If you are a lover of garlic as I am, then you are about to discover how to enjoy it even more.
One way of using garlic with exceptional taste is to make a 'garlic confit."
I know it sounds fancy, but to make garlic confit, it is quite simple.
This technique is popular in French cuisine and in in simple terms the word means "to preserve."
This method is mainly for preserving animal protein such as "duck confit. But, using this simple method allows you also to preserve vegetables and aromatics such as garlic.
To make garlic confit, you will be poaching whole garlic cloves in oil. You can use a neutral oil of your choice, but I like flavorful clean oils such as olive oil for my own personal choice.
A basic recipe I use is about a cup of fresh garlic cloves and place into a small pot. Pour enough oil over the top to cover.
Next step, you will bring the garlic to a low simmer as demonstrated in this video clip.
Continue to simmer the mixture for 30 minutes or until they become soft and a little golden in color.
Using a mason jar, place into a jar and cover with a lid. When cooled down slightly, place into the fridge for longer use. It will keep in the fridge up to a month.
Now, when you get your first taste of the simple dish, you will wonder why you have not tried it before.
The end result is a mellow garlic taste, which is almost buttery. Because this method reduces the sharpness of fresh garlic, you can get heavy handed when using in in dishes.
Here are some of my suggestions for use:
Add it to pasta, pizza
Spread it on top of fresh crusty bread with hummus
Add it to omelets
Use it in pesto's instead of raw garlic
Add to homemade creamy salad dressings (use the infused oil to make it more special!)
Garlic confit is a good standby to keep on hand in the fridge, so when inspiration hits you to have something with delicious garlic flavor, you won't have to work hard to achieve it.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Back in February, I made a blog post about going global for making meals more interesting where you will never get bored. I hope some of this inspired some of you to cook more out of your comfort zone. By doing so, you may really look forward to the creative process of trying something new.
A good starting point of experimenting with spices, is Indian cuisine. In my humble opinion, India has an abundance of spices that are wonderful to explore with and you will have plenty of options to to choose from.
Some of my favorites are the traditional spices of dried curry leaves, cardamom, cumin, garam masala (a spice blend of warm spices of cinnamon, coriander, cumin and other spices) ginger and turmeric.
The spices I just mentioned are very common, but exploring some not so common spices is where it gets interesting.
I recently made an Indian eggplant pate using Amchur powder. The other name it goes by is dry mango powder. (By the way ,the dish is delicious served with naan bread)
The taste of this powder has a sour note, and makes a great substitute for anything that you make requiring a tart citrusy taste such as lemon. This would be a great first try at trying something new. I got my Amchur powder at my local Indian market which is Patel Brothers.
Speaking of Patel brothers, check out their blog post of 5 Unique Indian Spices & Herbs you should cook with. This post also includes more helpful information about Amchur powder.
Using spices will make your everyday food burst with delicious and interesting flavors. Who knows, you may come up with something uniquely your own?
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator