Knife Skillz: Minced Garlic

July 16th, 2008 by katie

minced garlic

I have always unashamedly bought the jarred minced garlic. It was easy and fast and I figured it didn’t matter. And, really, it doesn’t. The flavor is duller but you can compensate by using more. However there is something about mincing a fresh clove of garlic that just screams, “Cooking! We’re cooking here!” Its the dull, chop chop chop on the cutting board, the comforting smell wafting through the kitchen, and the knowledge that a delicious, flavor-packed meal is being prepared from fresh, whole ingredients.

Mincing a clove of garlic is not difficult or time consuming. The advantage over the jarred garlic-besides the seriously amped up flavor-is that you can mince it as coarsely or finely as you’d like. As a kid, my job during dinner preparations was to peel the onions and garlic. I remember agonizing over the tiny paper wrapped cloves seemingly permanently enclosed. Well those days are no more. The fastest and easiest way to unwrap a garlic clove: use the hilt of your knife to smash it against a cutting board. Place the flat of your knife over the clove then use the heel of your hand to give it a good smoosh-paper and all. Once your clove is split open, you’ll find the paper peels right off with no resistance.

Smashing the garlic with the flat of the knife blade

Smashing the garlic clove also gives you a head start on the mincing process. Using your palm to anchor the knife tip, rock your blade over and over the garlic chopping it into smaller and smaller pieces. As your garlic spreads out, stop and pile it back up, then continue mincing until it is as fine as desired for your recipe.

Mincing the garlic, rocking the knife blade by anchoring the tip with your palm

Depending on the recipe, sometimes you would prefer not to have chunks of garlic present. You can transform your minced garlic into garlic paste by sprinkling a bit of kosher salt over it then using the flat of your knife again to scrape the minced garlic back and forth. The kosher salt flakes act as an abrasive and will grind your garlic bits into a smooth paste. This is great to add to pasta or pizza sauce, or mix with butter and spread over hot crusty bread.

Follow along the Knife Skillz series.

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Posted in Tips and Tricks

3 Responses

  1. Andy

    Great explanation. I completely agree that using fresh garlic really adds to the cooking atmosphere. Really, just a pan with some garlic and oil over heat smells so good.

    I once read a tip that to trick people into thinking you’ve been cooking you should saute a chopped onion for a few minutes. Apparently, it’s the universal “cooking” smell. I have to say I agree! – Katie

  2. Foodie

    Hi Katie,

    I just linked to your blog from The Pioneer Woman’s blog. I love your site – you take such beautiful pictures of food 🙂

    I just started my own blog and added you to my blogroll. I hope you’ll check it out when you get a chance.

  3. Jeanette

    I loved the Better Butter and the garlic bread recipes!

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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