Thank you for the question. The "Larousse Gastronomique," (a respected encyclopedia of French Gastronomy), defines "Confit" as "A piece of pork, goose, duck or turkey, cooked in its own fat and stored in a pot, covered in the same fat to preserve it." Confit is traditionally used in "Cassoulet: A dish, originally from Languedoc, which consists of navy beans cooked in a stew pot with pork rinds and seasonings. A garnish of meats, (confit being one), and a gratin topping are added in the final stages."
I have a love/hate relationship with Confit, owing, I suppose, to being an entrenched Traditionalist when it comes to food--relying on history as a guide to how a dish is intended to be prepared and presented to the customer. Yet at the same time, there is a chi-chi little devil sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear to accept the current loose-lipped trendiness that occurs when one reads menu descriptions ca. 2013. To fool with tradition as it were. Case in point, Confit.
Some menus stretch the limits of the true definition of "confit" far beyond what any food purist would deem acceptable or even reasonable. Silly and laughable in some cases. I can think of few dishes less appetizing than a dessert I once saw on a popular Northwest Bistro menu-"Buttermilk Shortbread garnished with Oregon Strawberry Confit." God help us. Did the Chef have no point of reference for this French Classic? Even worse, did the Chef actually know the true meaning of "Confit" and intentionally desecrate this hallowed dish? Is there no greater sin than to stew precious, June-ripened Oregon Hood strawberries in a simmering cauldron of duck fat?
I doubt this crime in the kitchen actually occurred, (I didn't order the abomination). The berries may have been prepared using a "confit-style" cooking technique. Were the strawberries steeped in strawberry tea then condensed into a "gelee" to mimic the fat of a confit? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We were being tempted, "fooled" by naming a dish something that it wasn't. Parse the words as you may, but this was not a true "confit."
Yet I am not one to inhibit the mastery and creativity of what we uncover during our Cook-Off journeys. I only offer one man's
interpretation of Confit and place no boundaries upon your dish. Let's put forth some memorable Confit.