Ask MenuPages: What Is Confit?

Dear MenuPages,

I’m confused. I always thought confit was a way of cooking meat–like duck–in its own fat, but the other night at Fleur De Lys, there was a dish that included fennel confit. What gives? We didn’t order it, but I’m assuming it wasn’t cooked in fennel fat.

Sincerely,
Confitused

Thanks for note Confitused.

Well, we’re not food experts or anything–maybe someone else can chime in–but we’ll do our best. You are indeed correct that meat confit is by cooking said meat in its own fat. Peasants in Franch yore used this method to preserve their meats, since they didn’t have the luxury of modern refrigeration or the culinary genius of their salt-curing Italian counterparts (just kidding–let’s not start a culinary war).

Anyway, there are two other types of lesser known confits. A fruit confit is a bit akin to jam; it’s made by cooking the fruit (perhaps cherries, apples, etc) with sugar, thereby creating a preserve. The final type is most likely your fennel confit. Here’s what WiseGeek says about acidic confits: “Yet other confits are acidic, for example a tomato confit cooked with vinegar. A dish of onion confit, similar to caramelized onions, is prepared with sugar and balsamic vinegar and used as a condiment for steak or chicken.”

Always,
The MenuBlog

What is confit? [WiseGeek]
Fleur De Lys [MenuPages]
Fleur De Lys [Official Site]

Ask MenuPages: What Is Confit?