There are innumerable recipes for confited garlic to be found online. They are all pretty much the same, slow cook garlic in oil, generally olive oil, until the garlic is tender. Some recipes call for whole peeled cloves of garlic, others just require that you slice whole heads in half, or simply cut the tops of the heads off to expose the tops of the cloves. My method is slightly different with the inclusion of a liquid. I like to add a bit of wine or broth, most of which cooks off, but it adds another dimension of flavor and helps to keep the garlic from browning.
This isn't a method of preserving garlic for an extended period of time, there's the issue of keeping a non-acidic food immersed in an anerobic environment which can allow the growth of pathogenic bacteria - you know, that botulism thing. But it will keep safely in the fridge for a few weeks. So make up a small batch and use it up quickly, which won't be a problem because it's so delicious.
How to use it? Any way that you would use fresh garlic and then some. I like to mash a few cloves into salad dressings. When I feel indulgent I brush some of the garlic oil over a slice of rustic bread, smear on a few cloves of confited garlic, sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and bake until crispy. Do the same thing with bread cubes and you have the best croutons. Make a small batch of confit, but when it's done immediately add some softened butter, mash it all up and serve it with big steamed artichokes. Or drizzle the garlic confit butter (or without butter) mashup over broccoli, asparagus, or whatever veggie strikes your fancy. I used the confited garlic and some of the oil in a batch of blue cheese dressing recently - heavenly. And it was fabulous in my latest rendition of Kale Salad (with apple and pomegranate).
1 large or 2 small heads of garlic
About 2 tablespoons of white wine, stock, or water (I'm going to try an agrodolce vinegar)
Salt, if desired
Herbs, if desired
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
Separate the cloves of garlic and peel them, cutting off the tough root ends.
The easiest way to peel a large quantity of garlic is to first let it sit in water to soften the skins. Some varieties are easier to peel than others so try peeling a clove after about 20 minutes. Artichoke types have very thin skins that adhere tightly to the cloves and seem to be the most difficult to peel, I usually let them soak for about an hour or more.
Place the peeled cloves of garlic in a small saucepan and add the wine or other liquid. Season with salt. Add a bay leaf or a sprig of thyme or rosemary if desired. Pour in extra virgin olive oil to generously cover the garlic.
Simmer the garlic over the lowest heat, use a flame tamer if necessary, for about an hour or until the garlic is soft. It should mash easily, although I have cooked it until tender but not mashable and simply chopped it, it's still delicious.
Let it cool in the oil and then pack it into a clean jar and refrigerate.