The Best Way to Mince Garlic

Onions and garlic always add great flavor to most meals. Whole or crushed, raw or cooked, garlic is a delicious addition to many savory dishes. Let me share with you an article of a cooking technique on preparing them that will really enhance the flavor of your dishes.

I remember the first time I saw a chef use a microplane grater to finely mince a clove of garlic. He was making mayonnaise, and in just a few seconds the clove had dissolved into a fine puree that fell directly into the mixing bowl below. I was blown away, and from that day forward, it was one more trick in my garlic-prep pocket.

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Fast forward to a few months ago. I was working on a shrimp scampi recipe, and, for speed, I ran some of my garlic through a microplane. When I dropped it into the pan of hot oil, I felt a searing sensation in my nose, like a strong hit of wasabi, and my eyes began to water. It tasted even worse, with a bitter flavor that ruined the shrimp.

The fact that microplaned garlic is more pungent than minced isn’t particularly shocking in and of itself. We all know that garlic’s intensity in a dish isn’t just dependent on how much garlic there is, but also how it’s been prepared: a single whole clove will deliver less intensity than a crushed one, a crushed clove will be milder than a sliced clove, and a sliced one isn’t as pungent as a chopped or pureed one—the more cells we rupture when cutting garlic, the more potent it is.

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