Roasted Bell Peppers and Garlic In Olive Oil (Roasted Bell Peppers and Garlic Confit)

by Trans Chef

Growing up, I spent a good bit of my early years living on a farm just outside Crawfordville, Fla. The majority of the food we grew was for our personal use. We’d grow the normal stuff you’d expect… tomatoes, watermelons, okra, bell peppers and greens were pretty much always on the list to plant. As you’d expect, we’d do various things to preserve the fruits of our labors. The most commonly used method was canning. (Followed by open-air dehydrating.)

A few years later in culinary arts school, I learned about another preservation method called “confit”. Confit, or comfiting, is a method of food preservation where item(s) are cooked for a long period of time on low heat (200 F or 93 C) while submerged under a layer of fat, or sugar syrup. Then they’re allowed to cool and stored (still submerged) until use. You can also use almost any type of fat you wish. Also, as long as you store it to keep things cool, covered in fat and no water is introduced into the container.

Truthfully, I never really used confit, or canning, preserved food much once I left culinary school and the farm. It was too easy to just buy something in a can or frozen. However, once I moved to San Francisco I started researching methods to preserve food (due to the rather high cost of living in the city). In-season prices are down and it’s the perfect time to stock up. And if you needed another reason to make use of small batch confit/canning, during the process the oil takes on the flavors and aroma of the item(s) you’re using and converts it into another amazing ingredient. (Basil garlic tomato oil for salads? Yes, please!)

Side-note: The method of “comfiting” is actually a lot older than is implied by the highly popular French term. This cooking method has been in use for close to 4,500 years in places like Egypt and China.

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