Tips for Working with Garlic

3 Oct

Ah, garlic. One of my most beloved flavor enhancers. There was a time when I put garlic in everything that I cooked. I learned much about garlic back in those days but one of the most interesting things that I learned is that garlic tastes completely different depending on how you cut and cook it. With out further ado: What I know about garlic.

Garlic has the strongest flavor when it is pressed. I like pressed garlic in raw applications. Specifically Caesar salad.

Chopped garlic has a medium strength bite to it. It is the perfect flavoring for tomato sauces that go into casseroles and bake for a long time like chili, pizza sauce and lasagna.

Sliced garlic has a milder subtler flavor and should be reserved for the tomato sauces that are cooked stove top that you are going to eat on top of your pasta. This is entirely my opinion of course but I do think that it holds up to this form of cooking very well.

Whole head roasted garlic has the mildest flavor. Simply chop off the top and put the whole thing in the oven. This is a very good way of infusing a chicken with garlic flavor. While I’m on the topic of chopping, make sure you’ve got a good quality board or you’ll find that the task is far more difficult than it should be. For an example of the sort of cutting board you’ll want to be using, take a look at the best cutting board I’ve found so far. Having a good cutting board makes all the difference, especially when trying to cut garlic finely. Once your garlic has been cut up, it’s time to place it in with the chicken. Of course, garlic is also fantastic on its own or as part of a roasted garlic spread, but roasting a chicken in garlic really creates an incredible flavor. And of course to get the garlic out of the skin just squeeze it out once it has been cooked.

Garlic tips

Smash the skin off of your garlic by putting the broad side of your knife on top of it and hitting the knife with your hand.

Don’t make your own garlic oil by chopping up garlic and jarring it in oil. This can put you at risk for botulism. The store bought garlic in oil has various acids added to prevent this from happening and is apparently nearly impossible to do this properly at home.

Get the garlic smell off of your fingers after chopping garlic by rubbing your fingers on stainless steel. It must work because I have heard of stainless steel bars you can buy for just this purpose.

You can sprinkle a little salt over the garlic while chopping it. This is supposed to make it chop up faster.

I’ve even heard that rubbing chopped garlic on your finger nails will make them grow thicker and faster.

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