Garlic cloves so soft they can be spread like butter
Garlic confit is magical stuff. You can use it in almost anything that calls for garlic, it gives you some wonderfully-flavored oil for cooking, and it keeps in the refrigerator for months. Not only that, but it's easy to make.
It could not be simpler to make. Start with whole cloves of peeled garlic with the root ends trimmed. You can break down whole heads of garlic, or buy pre-peeled garlic and do the final trimming yourself. Put the garlic into a saucepan and cover it with oil. Almost any cooking oil will work fine, but the best flavor comes from extra virgin olive oil.
Place the pan over the lowest heat your cooktop provides and let the garlic cook about 45 minutes. It should never come to a boil, or even a simmer. Rather, there should be just a few tiny bubbles breaking the surface every few seconds. If your cooktop seems to be putting out too much heat, try setting the saucepan on a diffuser, or even into a frying pan with about an inch of water in it.
The confit is done when you can push a fork into a clove with virtually no pressure. Spoon the cloves into a sterilized, airtight container, then top with oil. Let the container sit open until the confit cools to room temperature, then close the container and put it into the refrigerator.
Don't be concerned that the oil appears to solidify. As soon as it warms to room temperature or hits a warmed pan, it will be just fine.
You might find that you use the oil faster than the garlic. If so, simply add more oil and stir it up a bit.
There are some interesting variations you might want to consider. You could add chopped onion at the cooking stage, or add a spear of fresh rosemary to the container. If you have other suggested variations or uses, please leave a comment.
If you're interested, you can watch a video demonstration of how to make garlic confit on my YouTube channel. While you're there, please subscribe so you can get updates when I upload new videos.
This is an updated version of the post I wrote three years ago.