Mincing Garlic

As you might have guessed by now, you need to know how to slice and chop garlic, because it’s a frequent flyer! If you’ve learned how to chop an onion, this is a piece of cake.

Believe it or not, there’s a big disparity regarding the size of garlic cloves. When I was working for The Silver Palate, people called with cookbook questions, and I frequently was the one to take the call. I couldn’t believe people called to ask, “How big a garlic clove?” I thought to myself, “How am I supposed to know the size of your garlic clove?” Remember, this was before technology hit, so it wasn’t as if the caller could take a picture of his garlic clove and share it with me.

Armed with that prior knowledge, I intentionally took a picture of different sized garlic cloves that came from the same head of garlic. You can see that there’s quite a range of sizes. So you need to use some judgment when it comes to recipes calling for garlic. If a recipe (mine or someone else’s) calls for a clove of garlic, think a mid-sized clove. If your garlic cloves are gigantic, then you might want to use half of the clove, unless you love garlic. By the same token, if you have mini garlic cloves, think of what a medium-sized clove looks like and multiply!

Chopping or slicing a garlic clove mirrors an onion or a shallot:

1. Peel the clove and slice it in one direction.

2. Rotate 90 degrees and slice in the other direction.

3. Finish chopping the garlic by placing your hand on the top of the knife and make up and down cutting motions with your knife.