My search for a typical Greek salad with an excellent vinaigrette led me to Michael Psilakis, “Live to Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way”. This excellent cookbook not only has a traditional and modern Greek Salad but includes a recipe for a very important ingredient in his Red Wine Vinaigrette . See Greek Salad with a Red Wine Vinaigrette.
Michael makes his own garlic confit which has almost replaced his use of butter (he even uses it instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich). Then the author often blends it into garlic puree which he uses in many recipes including his vinaigrette for his Greek Salads.
I could have bought garlic puree at the grocery but decided this recipe was so easy that I would start from scratch if I wanted the best Greek salad I could make. I don’t usually have my oven on this long during the summer (use my grill, slow cookers, bread machine, Breville counter top oven, rice cooker, etc. – I do have a lot of appliances) but I felt this was a necessary step and besides I love garlic! Usually I will just roast a head of garlic I need for a recipe but this way I will have a supply for a month (it only keeps for 1 month in the refrigerator). You can always make garlic puree and freeze!
I will post my versions of the best Greek Salad soon by Michael and Panera Bread.
One reason I really like this cookbook is that the author provides ways to use these ingredients in recipes throughout his book. For the garlic confit Michael shares 7 recipes; and the garlic puree Michael lists 32 recipes in his cookbook. I have made his Greek Salads (modern and traditional) and will post soon. I was not happy with the garlic sauce I made and will continue to work on that recipe.
Garlic is one of Michael’s “magnificent seven” ingredients in his pantry and I totally agree. I just love garlic and using it in so many healthy ways. Garlic has many health benefits and is an important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet and a healthier approach to eating.
Garlic confit is peeled cloves cooked slowly in seasoned oil. This process removes their acidity and sharp heat and concentrates their sweetness. These delicious, braised cloves of garlic keep for up to a month so you can always have a ready supply on hand.
Garlic Confit and Garlic Puree
- 3 cups peeled garlic cloves (you can buy garlic already peeled at your local grocery store)
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
- 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300°F. I would place the bay leaf, fresh thyme and peppercorns in cheesecloth before cooking. Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pot. I used one of my Le Creuset pans. Cover and bake for about 50 minutes. The cloves are done when they are pale gold and you can smash them with the back of a spoon. Cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled cloves and oil in a clean jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
I then made garlic puree and froze 2 tbsp. in each ice cube well.
Garlic puree is the smooth and spreadable version of garlic confit.
- garlic confit
Transfer the garlic cloves stored in the oil using a slotted spoon to the bowl of a food processor, or you could mash the cloves with the side of a knife. Process until smooth. Add a little oil if needed to make the mixture a better consistency. Save the oil to use in other recipes as there is a lot of garlic flavor.