We cook with a lot of garlic here at FoodieLawyer.com. Garlic is very healthy, adds a lot of flavor to almost any recipe, and we highly recommend using it in your cooking routine. Garlic stores easily at room temperature — don’t refrigerate it — and it lasts a long time, usually a couple of weeks at least. When the garlic cloves start to get dried out or sprout green shoots, throw them away and buy some more. Dan’s Aunt Nancy recently commented that she’s not sure what to do with garlic, so this post is dedicated to her (Hi Nance!)
A lot of recipes call for minced or finely chopped garlic. Generally, the finer you chop the garlic, the more garlicky the flavor will be. For most of our recipes, we use a garlic press. It really pulverizes the garlic and brings out its flavor.
First, we separate a few garlic cloves and remove most of the paper shell.
To release the clove from its skin (peeling the garlic clove), we use a chef’s knife. Working one clove at a time, put the clove on your cutting board and place the knife over it.
With a closed fist, smash the garlic clove.
Here is a typical clove after getting smashed.
The garlic skin then comes off very easily.
This is our most favorite garlic press ever (it might be weird to have a favorite garlic press, but we cook with a lot of garlic and this press is easy to clean, which is a bigger deal than you would expect if you weren’t married to Mrs. FoodieLawyer). One of the issues with a garlic press is cleaning it out after you’re done – getting the remnants out of the press part. This garlic press has these cool little red cleaner-fingers that make clean-up a breeze.
We press one garlic clove at at a time.
After you squeeze out the garlic-goodness, use your knife to remove the rest of the pressed garlic from the press.
After pressing several cloves, you should have your garlic all ready for your recipe. Simple and easy. And your kitchen smells like an Italian grandmother is cooking. What could be better?
It’s time to clean that garlic press. If you don’t clean it fairly soon, the garlic dries into a stucco-like mess. Seriously, garlic is weirdly sticky.
With this garlic press, the red fingers make clean up a snap. Just reverse the action you did with the garlic, and put the red part against the part with the garlic remnants.
Run the press under water to rinse out the garlic remnants…
And it’s just that simple. Your garlic press is clean.
In addition to pressing or chopping garlic for your recipes, there are plenty of other ways to prepare garlic. Roasted garlic involves a whole head of garlic roasted in the oven. It can be used in a number of different recipes, or simply spread onto a big piece of French bread. We also occasionally cook with whole garlic cloves, like in Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. So go ahead and cook with more garlic. Garlic is good for you, simple to use, and it makes your kitchen smell delicious.
8 thoughts on “On Garlic”
So I got Damon a garlic press for his Christmas stocking last year (don’t laugh, it was better than the socks and underwear also in the stocking), but was disappointed when the press didn’t seem to work very well. So I learned tonight that the problem was user error. I have been using the press wrong (smashing with the part that cleans out the holes). It seems so obvious now that I saw your pics. I will be pressing like a Foodie Lawyer master now!
Glad you got it all sorted out. How about a vegetable peeler for Damon’s stocking this year?
According to Chowhound (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/545979), Alton and Bourdain eschew the press, but Julia liked hers. I’d stick with Julia. While excellent, Alton Brown is the anal-retentive chef, ala Phil Hartman. Bourdain is witty and urbane, but can be a fussy old crank. Viva the press.
Brand name of the favorite garlic press, please. Stocking stuffing seems likely here.
THANK YOU so much!!! I also need to buy a garlic press & will look for one similar to yours. As we say in Central PA “you guys” rock!
One of my stocking stuffers is garlic oil. It is in a bottle, probably about 3 or 4 oz. It is supposed to be very strong and only a couple of drops will do. It will probably evaporate before I actually use it, because I open the bottle to smell it every time I go into the kitchen because it smells awesome.
Hi Mark – we just replenished our supply of garlic olive oil. One of Dan’s favorite ways to use it is as a marinade for steak. Use equal parts garlic olive oil and balsamic and marinate the steak for a couple of hours. Salt and pepper the steak right before cooking. So good! Dan also sometimes drizzles a few drops of the oil on cooked fish right before serving.