We are being fancy this week. No, just kidding, confit *feels* fancy but it’s nothing you can’t make at home. Confit is anything preserved in olive oil through a slow-cooking method — typically eggplants, garlic, or poultries like chicken and duck. This recipe derives from Food 52’s Little Big Recipes, which showcases Parisian food writer Rebekah Peppler’s confit recipe from her cookbook, À Table. Rebekah’s book is a French invitation to fresh and simple ways of cooking, and I am honoured to extend that invitation to you.
A lasagna or brownie pan
Ingredients (measurements are adjusted a little from the original)
1 eggplant; large in diameter and length (if you have small or slim eggplants, triple the amount and it should equate to 455 g)
5 garlic cloves, halved
5 pieces of anchovies
3-4 sprigs of thyme (optionally, you can add rosemary as well)
1 ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 275 F.
Ensure the eggplant is washed and dried, and its tips and ends are cut off. Vertically slice the eggplant into four equal parts. Salt the eggplant to draw out moisture. This should take about 30 minutes.
Blot the excess moisture on the eggplant, and place it in the pan along with garlic, anchovies and thyme. Generously salt and pepper the eggplant. Pour in the olive oil and make sure the eggplant is completely submerged in the olive oil. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes. This dish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days (make sure the eggplants are stored in the oil they were cooked in). While reading À Table, Rebekah paints a summery scene in Provence, filled with fields of flowers and fresh produce. I know the landscape around us is nothing like what Rebekah experienced, but I promise you this dish will take you there! No matter what season I cook this dish in, it never fails to bring me the freshness and warmth of summer. Try mixing this confit with some pasta (add just the eggplants, garlic, and herbs), proteins like shrimp, spread the eggplant and garlic on a toast, or cook with its fragrant oil. You can always revisit this recipe during the summer; a time this recipe was destined for.