Mar 252011


It’s just that time of the year in Israel, folks. Wonderful, stinky fresh garlic is in the shuk. I’m in the shuk too, packing as much garlic into my little wheeled shopping cart as I can. I expect I’ll be writing about garlic every March till I’m too old to type anymore. And cooking it till I’ve died and gone to garlic heaven.

The Little One rolls her eyes and asks me not to buy any more garlic because I hang it up to dry in the laundry room. The smell of it drying  penetrates into the bathroom and makes her feel like a salami, she says.

My question is, how does she know what a salami feels like?

In her mysterious teenage way, she refuses to say. However, I notice that she does eat anything I cook with garlic in it. I suppose it’s in her genes.

And this year, there’s garlic with some enormous cloves in the heads. Right now the thin sheath that protects each clove is still tender and juicy, so I remove only the papery purple peel. Sorry about the alliteration.


Once my garlic is minced to a paste, I add salt and olive oil – some fresh, chopped za’atar and thyme and chives and mayhap a leaf or two of rocket from my little potted plants – and and sit down with a warm pita to sop it all up, drop by drop. And that’s lunch.

Actually, I’m not sorry – I love alliteration.


Garlic oil keeps in the fridge for up to a month.

I did have mercy on the Little One and hung up the latest batch outside on our tiny balcony. Here it is, looking strangely shy and head-hanging among the anemones and nasturtiums. For such an aggressive herb, that is.


Another delicious thing to eat is garlic confit. All the fire goes out of the cloves as they poach in herbed olive oil over two or three hours. You have to put a little fire back in. The result is a delicious relish for roast chicken, a cheese platter, a sturdy salad, or bruschetta. Love garlic? Try this.



Garlic Confit

printable version here


4 heads of garlic, cloves cleaned and peeled if necessary. Leave the peels on if garlic is fresh and juicy; peel if not.

1-1/2 cups olive oil

4 sprigs of thyme

2 medium bay leaves

1 teaspoon mustard seeds – or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 allspice berry

freshly-ground black pepper


Heat the oven to 300°F – 150 °C.

Place the herbs in an ovenproof casserole.

Place the garlic cloves over the herbs and douse them with the olive oil.

Scatter the coarse salt all and grind black pepper generously.

Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake for 2-1/2 hours or until the garlic is very tender.

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Have a look at previous posts about fresh garlic:




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  14 Responses to “Fresh Garlic Confit”

  1. Glad to see your latest post. I think the Little One got some of her mother’s sense of humor!

    Beautiful post. I have questions on keeping garlic:

    Aside from hanging fresh garlic, how do you like to keep “regular” garlic?
    Do you keep the garlic with herbs – the one you show in the jar – in the refrigerator, and for about how long?
    Same question about the delicious-sounding garlic confit.

    Also – How do you like to use the green part of the fresh garlic?

  2. Oh, I did find the answers to 2 of my questions – the one about keeping garlic + herbs in oil, and the one about using the stalk, in your garlic post from 2009.

    Your links are very good, and I should have checked them first.

  3. Faye, you were right to ask. I should include storage instructions and will fix that. Confit can be kept two weeks in the fridge. By “regular” I guess you mean garlic that’s dried out? Once my garlic is dry, I keep it in a straw basket, never in plastic or metal or even ceramic. I try not to let it pile up, but keep it spread out as much as possible to keep it ventilated and to prevent crushing the heads on the bottom. But then, I don’t know too many who routinely buy 10 kg. every year. I sort of go hog-wild at this season and find all kinds of reasons to include that juicy fresh stuff in my food.

  4. We wait all year for this delicious Israeli garlic. Great photos!

  5. Thanks for the compliment to the photos, Stephen. Coming from a pro like you, I’m honored. Next time you guys come for dinner, I’ll make sure to put plenty of garlic confit on the table. Well, and maybe some bread. That’ll be enough, won’t it? :) Just kidding!

  6. Having just moved to Israel in September, this is my first garlic season – and I am obsessed! And definitely looking for millions of ways to incorporate this beautiful garlic into everything. I love garlic confit and can’t wait to try your recipe!

  7. Welcome, Katherine! Enjoy the confit, and if you have other great ideas about garlic, please let me know.

  8. My little one was in Rambam last year around Passover and the only good thing besides being released before the Seder was I bought a huge braid of beautiful large garlic braided the Middle Eastern way and hung it up. We almost had it finished but with the heavy rains this year some sprouted so I used your ideas on what to do with sprouted garlic. Your site is so helpful. Thanks

  9. Chaya, I hope your little one’s stay in Rambam is now just a faint memory and that all is well. You’re welcome, and I hope you get some new garlic! :) Chag sameach.

  10. […] Garlic, garlic and more garlic. Produce stands are well-equipped to fend off any impending vampire apocalypse. You can’t smell anything in the shuk but garlic these days. Try this fantastic garlic confit recipe from Israeli Kitchen, a great blog by Mimi Kresh featuring many recipes based on Israel’s finest natural ingredients. Garlic Confit […]

  11. […] hand, it’s summer and it’s a good thing I’m single because I’d eat this Fresh Garlic Confit on […]

  12. Ooh, I love garlic, too. I have been growing my own for the past three years now. If you are as big a fan of garlic as I am, you must know of scapes. They are the centermost part of the plant of hardneck varieties which grows and curls in mid-season. They are the part that produces the bulbils, the pod containing the seeds. The scapes are broken off or cut off so the energy can be directed to the growth of the bulb. BUT, the scapes are the most incredibly delicious part of the garlic plant, and are a rare treat for those who know about them. I use this tender green part to make pesto, and I guarantee when you try it, you will be hunting the shuk for scapes the rest of your life!!

  13. Barb, I know of scapes, but regrettably, here fresh garlic is only sold when the stalks are mature and contain two or three bulbils. Not having a garden but only a small balcony, I’ve never had a chance to grow garlic. Well, maybe someday.

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