What is confit?

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crankin

Senior Cook
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Mar 31, 2007
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At a local restaurant there is a dish with this description:
Confit Salmon, slow cooked & served with vanilla roasted root vegetables, braised black beans & finished with a Maltese sauce

I love salmon and root vegetables which is why I was drawn to this. But I have no idea what confit salmon is or what it would be like. Slow-cooked salmon just does not sound right. Can someone describe what this dish would be like?
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
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That would be cooked at a low temperature submerged in fat. The fat is usually flavored with herbs.

The most common is duck confit, which is duck leg quarters cooked in duck fat.
 

auntdot

Head Chef
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Aug 25, 2004
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Andy is right, traditionally. But I have seen so many things called a confit these days that do not even come close to that definition that I no longer have any idea what the term means.
 

Walt Bulander

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This sounds like it might be a sous vide, say perhaps salmon with dill in a butter sauce. Vacuum packed in a bag for reheating in a hot water bath.

My 17 yo grandson worked for a while as a short order cook at a chain restaurant. He tried to convince me that he could cook, but beyond pancakes and eggs, everything was basically boil in bag:LOL:
 

Andy M.

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Walt, confit is different from sous-vide. For confit, were talking about 300F for 2-3 hours.

Not as low and slow as sous-vide and no vacuum involved.
 

Walt Bulander

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Andy,

Yes, but this is salmon.

I have baked a whole salmon fillet several times at 200f for anywhere from 45 min. to an hour. Works great for entertaining, because the timing is less critical, and it does'nt get overcooked. I'll bet the restaurant entry was cooked in volume several hours/days before, sealed up, and frozen.

I'm speculating that "confit" on the restaurant menu just sounds better than "Reheated in a boiling bag Salmon"
 

Bilby

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Tartare of salmon should be raw - tartare of anything should be raw. Smoked salmon is often used in several recipes but it isn't really tartare then. It is like when people sear meat for a carpaccio dish. Raw food and cured food is different from cooked food and the terms really shouldn't be confused.

I eat sashimi (raw fish) regularly and you have to rely on the supplier/restaurant. Any doubts, you should steer clear. The salmon shouldn't be frozen. It should be the freshest and best cut possible. There is nothing quite like it.

Going back to the specified salmon tartare, the raw fish is diced very finely and mixed with diced raw onion, diced pickled gherkin, diced capers and salt and pepper. It should be served with a wedge of lemon (or lime for a different flavour) and (preferably) fresh brown bread and butter. The diner squeezes the lemon over the salmon immediately before eating. (If you pre-dress the tartare with the juice, it starts to cure.)

Steak tartare not only uses raw meat finely diced, but also is served with a raw egg.

Duck confit is one of my favourite ways to have duck. I have had salmon confit once at a restaurant. I don't remember the flavours but I do remember it as being very soft and melt-in-your-mouth.
 

Gossie

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Going back to the specified salmon tartare, the raw fish is diced very finely and mixed with diced raw onion, diced pickled gherkin, diced capers and salt and pepper. It should be served with a wedge of lemon (or lime for a different flavour) and (preferably) fresh brown bread and butter. The diner squeezes the lemon over the salmon immediately before eating. (If you pre-dress the tartare with the juice, it starts to cure.)

Steak tartare not only uses raw meat finely diced, but also is served with a raw egg.

You ruined it for me when you said there 'diced pickled gherkin' in the salmon tartare. I hate pickles. The steak tartare I would be willing to try IF it doesn't have pickles in it. :)

:chef:
 

Bilby

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I've never made steak tartare so can't answer that! It has always struck me as eating a better quality hamburger mix before being cooked and I have tried (normal) raw hamburger mix before. Didn't do anything for me then but still willing to give steak tartare ago.

When I say pickled gherkins, I mean in vinegar, herbs/spices and may be sugar depending on the recipe. Not pickles like a chutney. Just in case it is the foreign terminology thing again. :)
 

Mel!

Sous Chef
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Aug 29, 2006
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I thought confit is the same as preserves(jam, chutney...).
But I doubt it in this case. Otherwise they would have said Salmon with confit wouldnt they?:ermm:
I think u will have to try it Crankin just so u can tell us what it is.

Mel
 

college_cook

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basically boil in bag

You keep using this phrase when describing sous-vide, and it's fairly inaccurate.

To be sous-vide, the food must be vacuum sealed; using a ziploc bag is not the same thing. Additionally, sous-vide dictates that you cook the food in water at the temperature you want it to be served at. So for that salmon that you probably want cooked to 140 degrees, you cook it in 140 degree water.... it can be higher but it is always well below boiling point. Sous-vide usually means cooked for extraordinary amounts of time, sometimes over 24 hours, depending on what you're cooking.


I think there may be a general misconception about what sous-vide is/isn't. Even with a giant pot of water that you monitor with your digital intsant read thermometer, and your vacuum packed food, you can still mess it up. Most places that really cook sous-vide use an immersion circulator, which circulates the water and meticulously monitors and adjusts heating elements to keep the temperature precise. A single degree difference could mean the difference between undercooked and overcooked, and it can also be conducive to the growth of botulism if not done correctly.
 

college_cook

Head Chef
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To the OP-

Confit traditionally means cooked in fat. Also traditionally, the fat used was the fat of the animal you were cooking. Confit'd meats are also traditionally cured before being immersed in fat.

More recently confit of garlic, tomatoes, etc. have become more common, and these items are usually cooked in oil, usually olive oil, and sometimes herbs are added.

Even more recently you've begun hearing of confit of berries, fruits, or other sweet or otherwise dessert items. All this means is that they've been cooked in sugar or simple syrup.


If you're still having trouble grasping the concept, you can think of confit as being somewhat similar to a braise, except you use fat instead of a water-based liquid. The temperature for both cooking methods are about the same, as is the cooking time, and they both yield very flavorful and tender meats without drying them out (when done right).
 

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