Confit is one of those words that gets thrown around all the time but I was never quite sure what it meant although I was pretty sure a duck was almost always involved.
So I did what I always do when in doubt – I Googled it – and found out that confit merely means to preserve or enhance the flavor of a food by packing it a substance, usually salt, sugar or fat (mmmm….fat….). One of the results of the search took me to a blog that has now become one of my standards, The Bitten Word, and there was a recipe for lemon confit. That seemed like a much easier place to start getting comfy with confit than poultry.
For such a intimidating sounding word (ah the effects of French), this recipe was about as easy as it gets. Wash and quarter 6 lemons. Mix together 5 cups of kosher salt and 5 tablespoons sugar. Toss the lemons in the mixture and then layer the lemons in a quart size jar packing in the sugar-salt as you go. Poof! That’s it. Store in the fridge for at least 2 weeks (although mine have been in there 6 months now and are still perfectly preserved). To use, rinse and use the peel only. Find the complete recipe from Food & Wine here.
Then the key is not forgetting you have it in your fridge! It is easy to work into so many things – mix it in with butter and baste on fish, add to vinaigrettes or sauté with green beans finishing the dish with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some toasted almonds. I look forward to experimenting with confits more – maybe oranges or limes next time. Baby steps.