Life without garlic? Too ghastly to even contemplate such a thing. The tiny cloves – of the humble Allium Sativum – are pungent, intensely aromatic and packed with an impressive flavour – an irreplaceable and unique ingredient that will lift and add dimension to any dish, even macaroons!
I find it marvelous what one tiny little garlic clove can do. Whether sautéed, roasted or raw, its presence already predicts that said dish will be delicious, dramatic and transformed.
But have you ever tried using garlic confit? If you haven’t then you’re in for a wonderful treat.
The term confit is used to describe anything that has been cooked slowly in fat or oil into a rich, succulent texture. Most recipes call for the garlic to be poached in oil, however at Taste Café we have decided to slowly bake ours in a clay dish in the oven, baked this way the slow baking process adds a tremendous depth of nutty flavour, marrow like texture and a sweet and pleasant aroma. These tender little morsels are bottled and can last for up to 6 months as long as they are covered by the olive oil in the refrigerator.
The confit cloves can be used to flavor soups, sauces, pastas, vinaigrettes, marinades or mashed potatoes. For a quick but sublime nibble, spread them on a crusty slice of ciabatta, as Jamie Oliver will say – Happy Times!
To add extra flavour we add a few sprigs of thyme to the baking process. Extra Virgin Olive oil is my preferred oil to confit garlic, since the temperature of the oil doesn’t get too high, its natural flavour is preserved and then slowly imbued with the delicate garlic flavour as the cloves slowly bake in the oven.
And the confited garlic is not the only thing that will add zing to your recipes. Every drop of the oil will, too. Use the oil in salad dressings and marinades, drizzle it on veggies, or dip some bread in it.
On the health side various garlic health benefits have long been claimed and the “stinking rose” treatment has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) down the centuries. It’s been considered by many to be a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing or treating everything from the common cold and fluto the Plague!
Amongst the most interesting potential applications are suggestions that garlic might be able to assist some people in the management of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant “superbugs”.
Whichever way you use your garlic confit, you’ll be astounded by its subtle yet rich flavour. I can only hope that it’ll become a favorite pantry item in your household too. And remember Garlic Confit is available from Taste Café at R30 for a 110ml bottle packed full of great flavour.
Life of a Food Blogger is all about Sacrifice!
In the name of good food and advancing the adventure of enjoying your food to a greater extend, food bloggers sometimes have to make things and then eat it to proof their point and to sing the wonderful properties of the food they prepare. Well, it is a beautiful early autumn Friday in March in South Africa, when I decided to make the toast, spread the garlic confit for the photographs to this article and eat it for breakfast. Usually after eating that much garlic as in the photo, I won’t even be thinking of going out, however, I decided to do a little experiment to proof my point that the garlic confit don’t have that terrible smell traditionally associated normally with garlic.
I ate the toast covered with the garlic confit and then made a point to ask those I came into contact with if they could smell garlic on my breath and most had to take a third sniff to realise the soft smell of the garlic confit. So garlic lovers, feel free to spread it!
Here is my easy and quick toast with garlic confit. You’ll need a ciabatta or any other fresh-baked bread, try The Bread Gypsy on the Pretoria Farmer’s Market, their bread is amazing and goes well with most of the Taste Café products. Get yourself a bottle of Garlic Confit from the Taste Café stall on the Farmer’s Market. Cut thick slices of bread, toast them, spread the garlic confit and serve it with freshly toasted sesame seeds and organic flaky salt. If you serve it as a lunch, a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc really accompanies the garlic well. Enjoy the good life!