The term confit and other mis-used words....


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
If we can all agree I think that in general most take the term confit to mean something that is cooked in its own fat (yes/no?). If that is the case, then what are some other chefs thoughts on the obvious mis-use of this term by many today? The reason I ask is because I have seen menus that sport "cornmeal confit". What are some thoughts on the mis-use of cooking terms?
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Hey Nicko,
You are right in your assessment of confit,
Many years ago hunters would skin there catch and tie it to four trees -post any thing that they could strech the hide out on. the meat was then broken down with fat intack. a fire was started under the hide,meat and fat ect were added with a little water(if they had it handy)the fire below slowly melting the fat and cooking the meat.this took along time. but eventually when it was cooked and all fat was melted it created a hermedic seal,thus preserving the meat. curing and spicing came later as salt and spice where traded like we trade stockes today. as the middle eastern spice ships made there way through france salt and certain spices became slowly more availible.and along came curing (salting and spicing for a # of hours or days to enhance preserving and flaver).In todays kitchens a fine confit of duck or goose,ect is still one of a chefs crowning acheivments.but in many kitchens the term in misused...confit of cornmeal? I don't think so. However A shallot or say garlic slowly cooked in fat with fresh herbs and then spooned on a rack of lamb (minus the fat ofcourse)with a nice pan jus can be called witout to much concern a confit. But in the true and classic definition Nicko is correct. Boy I wish there was spell cheak on here!!!
Joined Aug 11, 2000
NOTHING Erks me more than a menu with technique terms that have nothing to do with what's on your plate. Does anyone really thinks it sells more food? I think it just makes you appear ignorant.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
There is also another term, confiture, that American chefs call confit. Confiture is to cook in one's own juice. It is a preserving technique similar to making jam. Things such as lemon confit, ginger confit, onion confit. These are really confitures. This is the orignial term that the french then applied to a preserving technique for meat especially duck.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
My favorite is Shrimp Scampi, which of course translates to shrimp shrimp. I have even seen chicken scampi on a menu (chicken sauteed in garlic butter no shrimp what so ever).


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Joined Oct 7, 2001
shroomgirl, don't quote me on this, but I believe that a conserve tradionally contains nuts in it. It is a jam that contains nuts just like a marmalade must contain citrus zest. Im not exactly sure on this. I know I have all those definitions somewhere but all my stuff is packed for a move next week. When I unpack I will check it out and if I am wrong will let you know.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Interesting question but I beg to differ. In French the word confit has more then one defition, just think of fruits confits (candied fruits).

In french the verb confire means to prepare food for preservation. It can be done either in fat, in a sugar syrup or simply roll food in sugar. Fruits preserve in alcool are also considered confit.

Joined Aug 18, 1999
I agree completely with Cape Chef. To describe as a confit any food cooked slowly in oil or animal fat has become perfectly acceptable. A confit of tomatoes (at least as per Jean-Georges Vongerichten) consists of tomatoes merely sprayed with olive oil and cooked for about two hours in a very low oven. I can see no problem with the terminology there.


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Joined Oct 7, 2001
Ruthy I have to disagree with you and Jean-Georges. What he is doing is oven roasting tomatoes not confiting them. Now, if he were to cover them (submerge them) in oil I can see him calling them confit, but not just spraying them with oil and throwing them in the oven.
Joined Mar 9, 2000
I agree, I think Jean-George is a brilliant chef, yet we can all make mistakes,eh? In fact in one of his books he still mentions searing meat to seal in juices. Another kitchen myth.
Joined Dec 30, 1999

according to the epicurious glossary

conserve [kuhn-SERV, KON-surv]
A mixture of fruits, nuts and sugar, cooked together until thick, often used to spread on biscuits, crumpets and so on.

confiture [kawn-fee-TYOOR]
French for "jam" or "preserves."

A thick mixture of fruit, sugar (and sometimes PECTIN) that is cooked until the pieces of fruit are very soft and almost formless. It is used as a bread spread, a filling for pastries and cookies and an ingredient for various desserts. See also JELLY; PRESERVES.
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