Do we crush garlic, chop it or...?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by lasagnaburrito, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. lasagnaburrito

    lasagnaburrito

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    I heard we are supposed to crush garlic cloves apart, but is that correct?  I was told also by using your knife, which doesn't sound like a good item to hit it.

    I'm curious how people go about preparing garlic for their dishes...?

    Thanks!
     
  2. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I break cloves off the bulb with my hands.  To take the skin off use the flat side of your blade and push down  (super easy with a cleaver).  The skin comes off easier with hard neck garlics than soft neck.  There's also the trick of two mixing bowls and shaking it until all the skins come off

    At that point you have unskinned bulbs.  Slice, mince, or smashed it all depends on the kind of dish you are making and what kind of flavor you want.

    For the most part I mince with a knife.  It is a particularly high grade garlic, I might smash it with my knife and use it for raw applications.  Cooked stuff I will use lower grade store bought soft necks (all i can find this season).   I had 30 bulbs in the fall I'm down to 2 hard necks...
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    What @MillionsKnives  said.  :)   There is no one way.  

    But there is no no better way to make Pesto than with mortar and pestle.  
     
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  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Smash with my knife and the chop, slice, grate or mince as needed. It does not require a lot of force to loosen the skin.

    These days I buy peeled garlic in a jars and freeze it. It's so much easier. Don't try to talk me out of it.
     
  5. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I'm considering going this route. What I usually do is slice off the root end, throw the cloves in a tall, skinny pickle jar and and give it a really good shaking.  That loosens the skin, then whether I slice, mince, crush or whatever depends on the recipe.

    mjb.
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I still use fresh when fresh is necessary in raw applications like tzatziki for example. But for everything else frozen peeled garlic is a life saver. It thaws in less than a minute and tastes great.
     
  7. neworleanscookj

    neworleanscookj

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    Chefsteps has a pretty entertaining video on this
     
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  8. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    It depends on the dish, availability of tools, and what you are comfortable with. There's a good step by step on lazy cook - with pics. However, there are many methods. If I recall, I've seen peeled cloves sold in pkgs in Asian markets. Don't care for garlic presses, as they are a pain to clean. There's the paper-thin razor sliced "goodfellas" method which supposedly melts and disappears in hot oil, but have not tried it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  9. rick alan

    rick alan

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    As Millions intimated, how you break down the garlic determines the flavor/flavor profile.  Slicing and mincing produces a sweeter taste than mashing, there is also texture and flavor delivery differences between the 3.

    Funny I've never seen the call for very fine slices of garlic added just before serving for things like pasta and mashed potatoes.

    Rick
     
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  10. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Lol. I agree on the latter -- unless you want to ward off vampires.

    The recipe/dish will give you an idea of the prep method, but one can change it out to taste.

    Re the paper-thinly sliced garlic that dissolves in the dish... Read about a chicken dish prepared with same at coppala's restaurant. Would like to see the recipe.
     
  11. chefross

    chefross

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    I store my garlic finely minced in a jar.

    Just enough to get me through the next couple a days.

    The flavor breaks down as time goes on.

    I used to use the already peeled stuff in containers.

    That was great for large volume cooking, because in the next few days, it's used up.

    If it sits in the walk-in for weeks at a time, it starts to sprout and mold.

    On another note....I shave garlic cloves on the mandoline very very thin, soak them in milk for an hour to help remove the harsh flavor.

    Drain and pat dry them bake them in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes to dry. I remove them and transfer them to a cooling rack.

    Paper thin flakes packed with flavor.
     
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  12. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Using a microplane or kitchen grater of choice, is another way to go. If you hit it with a knife, use the heel of the knife.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  13. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Actually we had a discussion about whacking things with a knife, if that is what you meant.  The sweet spot is usually somewhere just past midway to the tip.  Too close to the heel and the tip will wiplash down on the board with a disconcerting ring, unless you've got a pretty thick/non-flexing blade.  With lighter and more flexible knives this will happen even when the knife is placed down on the product and you smash with the heel of your palm, if you are too close to the knife's heel.

    And ya, I thought someone besides myself must be using paper thin garlic slices.
    Interesting technique Chefross.

    Rick
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  14. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    For large numbers of cloves, I use the "Ol' Equalizer" from back in my former-elbow-busting

    days in the back-alleys of Bombay, now my favorite Garlic-Smoosher:


    While for just a few cloves to toss in something, I use the back of my Chef's Knife. 

    Funny, my daughter was telling me that her friend broke his mother's um, "good" Chef Knife 

    right in half, by using it to crush garlic and the like. I looked at her with a straight face and 

    said, "Thats because he's an amateur. It takes YEARS of intense practice to do that 

    without breaking the knife." 

    Of course in truth, I suspect her "good knife" may have been a cheapie, and second, 

    if youre half way out from the hilt and you have too steep an angle, then yeah, youre 

    likely to do a Snapo, or a Bendo on almost anything, 'cept maybe a good solid cleaver. 
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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  15. lasagnaburrito

    lasagnaburrito

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    haha that's hilarious!  Good ol smasher.



      I definitely wouldn't want to end up like your daughter's friend....  My dad said to use the knife and mash it, and I didn't want to damage the knife, but he ended up doing it.  The knife is decently expensive 150-200$, so I didn't want it to be damaged :(.

    I just like to cut it up :p.
     
  16. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    I'm a little confused about the smashing thing. 

    I place the knife on the garlic and push down with my other hand. Lightly until it cracks. Once the skin cracks,  I remove it easily.

    No need to use a hammer like motion. Place it closer to the heal for more control. 

    That's if it's particularly stubborn. I usually just squeeze it with my fingers. 

    Agreed also on slice, smash, mince chop all have different flavor profiles. Roast, fry, sweat, raw vs cooked. Whole vs cut. All different. 

    @ChefrossOn another note....I shave garlic cloves on the mandoline very very thin, soak them in milk for an hour to help remove the harsh flavor.

    Drain and pat dry them bake them in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes to dry. I remove them and transfer them to a cooling rack.

    Paper thin flakes packed with flavor.

    I like the paper thin thingie. Flavor bombs. I'll have to try that. I do that with oils and frozen sauces. 

    It should also be mentioned that rubbing your fingers with stainless takes the garlic flavor off your hands. I'm sure everyone here already knows that trick. 

    Nothing like garlic and onion odors rising from your fingers while trying to sleep. 
     
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  17. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Well just to be clear, I lay the large part of the knife on the clove and push down with my palm.

    If done properly, I see no way to damage a knife from it.  

    Same with the Equalizer actually, I use a rocking motion while pushing down. 

    (The friend who broke the knife blade had it at an angle, and hit it. He just did it wrong.) 

    I also have a garlic press, and use it occasionally, but its much more of a hassle to clear

    each time and to clean. 

    By the way here's another trick: if youre gonna use some salt in the dish, drop a little sea salt on the cutting board 

    with the garlic cloves. When you start smooshing, its amazing how well that salt assists in the process. 
     
  18. neworleanscookj

    neworleanscookj

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    I have a small related question. Today I made a roast chicken (It was actually a hen so my results weren't what I wanted, but all the chickens at the market were frozen solid. Anyways beside the point) I placed some oiled aromatics in the roasting pan under the rack including shallots. I kept the shallots mostly intact by dividing the sections and splitting them from root to tip, I then made perpendicular slices but not all the way through so the half clove stayed intact yet scored through the layers. Has anyone ever done this when roasting, is it a good idea considering the long cooking time?
     
  19. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    It's a good idea if it turned out the way you liked. How did it turn out? I keep shallots whole when I'm roasting them for a long time, or cut in half if they are very large.
     
  20. neworleanscookj

    neworleanscookj

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    Well the shallots ended up melting away pretty much, which didn't bother me as I wanted the aroma mostly to flavor the chicken. The hen was really tough so I ended up cooking it for a very long time and I'm probably going to use it in something like a gumbo or chicken salad. I think it was a waste of time and effort over all for the knife work, looking back I think I will use whole shallots but will pierce them with a toothpick so the oils from the inner layers of the shallot can steam out. I think the concept will be the same but will be a lot faster than trying to score them 9/10ths of the way through every few millimeters laterally.