Saturday, October 22, 2011

Garlic Confit

Today didn't start very well. Driver was late by 1.5 hr for our weekly groceries, refused to pick up phone calls not to mention he switched off his mobile, the produce in supermarket were limited and of poor quality and many roads were closed due to demonstration (the 3rd one this week). So I thought it's only befitting to do something that pleases me. Something like Anthony Bourdain-esque :)

I have been following Bourdain's tv series but it wasn't until I saw the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe in now-defunct Almost Bourdain that I fell head over heels with him and his recipes. Ellie (the woman behind Almost Bourdain blog) often offered snippets of his recipe which was written with kick-ass attitude. Very much like the persona on TV, which often draw chuckles outta me. And he makes everything sounds oh so simple! So I was very happy to found a copy early this year in Cape Town, of all place.

Anyway, as I re-acquainted myself with him and his classic french recipes, I found myself making plans for tomorrow, starting with mignons de porc a l'ail, which is basically a roasted pork tenderloin basked in garlic confit.

Garlic confit is Bourdain's ass-kicking name for roasted mashed steam-garlic. The one that you wrap in foil, with some olive oil & salt, dump into oven until it's soft. I'm sure you know this, no? No?!?

Well, that's easy to solve.

This is what you need to do:

* 2 cloves of garlic, broken into pieces, but not peeled. Place over aluminum foil, pour 2 tbsp of olive oil, add a sprig of fresh thyme and pinch of sea salt.

* Wrap the foil into a bundle and shake. Bake for about 30 mins in 180 C or till soft. In the middle of baking, shake some more to ensure all cloves are baked equally. When it's done, mash with your fork or use pestle and mortar into a paste.

Voila. You now have what's called Garlic Confit.

Instead of making garlic bread with raw fresh garlic, I often use this. Spread it over my baguette and toast it with some very strong goat cheese. You should try this once, and let your uninvited-guests-who-came-before-you-are-even-fully-awake go oohh.. ahhh..

Anyway, I shall end this post with some words from the man itself..

"Having determined that you need be neither prodigy, nor genius, nor to the manor born, and that you do not have to live near a Dean & Deluca or be pals with Alice Waters to cook French food.... what do you need?
You need the will. You need the desire. You need the determination to go on - even after you've scorched the first batch of stew, burned the sauce, mutilated the fish fillet and lopped off a hunk of fingertip. You need persistence, the ability to understand that with every mistake comes valuable information. I'll tell you what I tell every rookie cook in my kitchen, after he ruins a perfectly good consomme: "Throw it out. Start over. Do you understand what you did wrong? Good. Now don't do it again." Know that you can read about breaking a butter sauce all you like; until you've actually broken it - just when you needed it- you won't understand it on an instinctive, cellular level. ....
Eventually, your hands, your palate, even your ears will learn, they will know when things are going right, and will sense in advance when things are in danger of going wrong.
You need love. Hopefully it's love for the people you're cooking for, because the greatest and most memorable meals are as much about who you ate with as they are about what you ate. ... You must like cooking for other people, even if you neither know nor like them. You must enjoy the fact that you are nourishing them, pleasing them, giving the best you've got. 
You must ultimately respect your ingredients, however lowly they might be. Just as you must respect your guests, however witless and unappreciative they might be.
Ultimately, you are cooking for yourself."
 (Anthony Bourdain, New York City, 2004) 

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