Thomas Keller’s Garlic Confit {recipe} – Presence

Garlic Comfit, Thomas Keller

There is a big difference between an excuse and an explanation.

Let me explain.

Or make an excuse.


Article of Loathing

In the first quarter of last year, there was >>this<< article in the Los Angeles Times. Though the article wasn’t about me or this personal little blog, it mentioned “The Delicious Life” enough times — ok, mentioned just once but like so many things, sometimes once is enough, dammit — that I thought it would encourage me to start blogging regularly again.

“Lots of people read the LA Times!” I said to myself.

“They will see the name and clickmob The Delicious Life!” I hoped.

“They need something, anything, to read that’s more recent than 2006 so I should start blogging again!” I concluded.

At least, start “blogging” in the true sense of the word — writing something, anything, at least once every, oh, some regular interval — and not my sense of the word, which seems to have devolved into posting nothing but photos every, oh, whenever I feel like it, which is about once every 16 months.

So I sat down at my desk to write.

I ended up flipping through Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook and made Garlic Confit.

Nom ‘n Ate

Days later, my blog was nominated for >>this<< award. Saveur is, you know, kind of a big publication so it’s kind of a big deal, and though it’s quite an honor just to be nominated, it’s an even bigger honor to actually win. I am competitive. I am a first-born daughter with a lot to prove to her immigrant parents. I wanted to win.

I thought the possibility of winning would push me into blogging again. I want to win! I can win! I will write winning blog posts because I! Am! A winner!

I sat down at my laptop to write like a fucking champion.

I overdosed on green Cerignola olives instead.

(Also? I didn’t fucking win.)


And a few days after that, there was >>this<< food blogging conference. Though I went there as a speaker, someone who would share all her knowledge and tips and awesomeness (I don’t have any of that stuff, but it seems I’m really good at marketing myself!), I came away receiving a lot more than I gave and I thought it would inspire me to blog again.

“The other speakers were so informative! The sponsors were so generous! The attendees were so inspiring and energetic and full of personality! I will go home and do an event recap! Shoutout to the sponsors! Be all lovey dovey kisskiss with all the awesome people I met and do the reciprocal link love stuff!”

So driving back from the event, I was all excited and mentally fist pumped, silently shouting “fuckyeahblogging!” I started drafting the post in my head in the car. We stopped at Din Tai Fung on the way back and thought to myself “These soup dumplings could be the subject of a blog post!” Sometimes you have to push yourself, go out of your way, go to a little trouble, take a risk, and drive the fuck out to BFE to go to a good blog event or eat good soup dumplings!

It was the perfect theme tie-in. A post was fate.

When I got home, I immediately ate the leftover dumplings.

And then we went to France.

And Now

An article! An award! An awesome conference! Three pretty big, remarkable things early last year, which aren’t even the three roundtrip flights I took for the first time in years.

“Why didn’t you tell us, Sarah?!”

Well, now you know.

Life, it seems, got in the way of, well, writing…about life.
Garlic Confit, Thomas Keller

Garlic Confit

adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Though the end result is similar to roasted garlic — sweet, mild, ultra tender garlic that can be used in many ways — garlic confit requires presence. You can’t just wrap a head of garlic in foil, throw it in the oven and oh, I don’t know, go upstairs to your office and blog about something for 40 minutes while it roasts.

You can however, make garlic confit, then blog about it almost 11 months later.

makes 1 cup


1 cup peeled garlic cloves
about 2 cups canola oil


Cut off and discard the root ends of the garlic cloves. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch – none of the garlic cloves should be poking through the oil.

Set the saucepan on a diffuser over medium-low heat.

(What normal person has a diffuser?! I don’t, so I just put the saucepan straight on the burner.)

The garlic should cook gently. Very small bubbles will come up through the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface. Adjust the heat as necessary and/or move the pan to one side of the diffuser if it is cooking too quickly. Cook the garlic for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.

Refrigerate the garlic in a covered container, submerged in the oil, for up to one week.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole January 30, 2012 at 5:54 am

I can’t remember the last time my refrigerator didn’t have a jar of garlic confit in it.  We use it on everything!  And I guess I am not normal– I have a diffuser:)


2 Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

you have a diffuser! that’s amazing! i suppose at  some point going through the cookbooks, i will have to buy one… :)


3 Brent Gottesman August 7, 2015 at 9:23 am

I have one, but now prefer an induction burner. They’re actually pretty cheap now and are easy to set at low temps.

4 Matt Wrench January 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Does anyone know why it’s OK to store this garlic in oil? I heard it was a bad idea because oil provides an oxygen-less environment for the garlic which can easily lead to the growth of botulism. Is it simply because the garlic is cooked beforehand? However based on these pics, it looks like it’s worth the risk. ;)


5 Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm

matt (and others concerned about botulism, and even those who are not concerned, but should be): SushiDay just pointed to this reference –>

i must let you know that hypochondriac-i-have-and-will-get-every-disease I am now totally paranoid about botulism and will probably never ever eat garlic that has been prepared or stored in oil again because that’s the way my brain works.


6 Matt Wrench January 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Sounds like you can use it all at once and be okay ;)

7 Cookingmama! December 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I make this for a few of Thomas Keller’s recipes. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can set a saucier or directly on top of another pan, say a saute pan or heavy frying pan. We have never been sick from using this garlic, which keeps for a few weeks. I do sterilize the bottle that I keep it in though.


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