Confit is an old French word for a classic method of food preservation. It simply means food that has been slowly cooked in salt and oil for long-term preservation. Duck confit is a famous example, but vegetables - especially garlic - are often used.
This version is an easy, hands-off recipe for a tart, flavorful confit of fennel, lemon, and garlic. It's sweet and mellow with notes of bright bitterness from the lemon. It's a wonderful summer dish stuffed into grilled chicken, or just tossed with buttery pasta.
Fennel, Lemon and Garlic Confit
about 4 cups
1 large bulb of fennel, with stalks and tops
1 small lemon
6 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash the fennel and lemon well. Chop the fennel stalks into 3-4 inch pieces. Chop about half the fronds into bite size pieces - reserve the other half for garnish. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove the seeds. Sliver the garlic.
Melt the olive oil and butter in a heavy, flat-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the fennel, lemon, and garlic. Shake a little black pepper over top and stir in the salt and red pepper flakes. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Let cool, then blend in a food processor until chunky. Store in the fridge - this will keep for at least a week - probably up to two.