The Garlic Trick That Will Save You Lots Of Time

Peeling and chopping garlic is the start of so many great meals. In fact, Food Network says both are key for learning general knife care and skills. Of course, professional cooks have the skills required to make quick, easy work of getting as much garlic as they want into their dishes, as the task of peeling and mincing isn't something they want to skip. Chefs go so far as to consider a garlic press among the kitchen tools they never use.

Home cooks, on the other hand, can see garlic peeling and mincing as a real dinner prep deterrent. That's why so many best kitchen tool lists will include a favorite garlic press, like Today's. Home cooks can also opt for garlic that's already peeled and chopped. There's no shame in that. But this is another divide between professional and home cooks. The former tends to agree with Chef Michael Symon: "I'm not a fan of it. It completely alters the taste" (via Facebook). To chefs, fresh garlic is worth the time and effort.

For garlic, the trick is knowing size matters

On the fresh garlic bandwagon? Then you're probably well aware of the long list of garlic peeling hacks. But after peeling a clove, what's next? That clove can be broken down in a handful of ways, all of which have a big impact on how the garlic will be perceived in the final dish.

According to America's Test Kitchen, garlic's flavor is mild until the cell walls are broken, which creates allicin. The more cell walls that break will lead to the creation of more allicin, which gives garlic its familiar flavors and aromas. Controlling the size of the garlic you add to any recipe will provide the means to control how much punch you want. Whole cloves have minimal broken cells and leave a faint flavor and aroma, while slivers and slices will yield a mild flavor. For the most potent punch of garlic, mince or puree the cloves.

Minced garlic is 'plane' simple

If potent, spicy minced garlic is your goal, there's still a long list of ways to get there. Use a knife and treat it like a small onion. Smash with the side of a knife blade. Then, use kosher salt as an abrasive and rub it into a paste, like Gordon Ramsay. A clove can be pushed through a garlic press, and Masterclass even mentions using a fork or box grater. Each will work.

Masterclass even mentions using a Microplane, a specific type of grater that might be the easiest for any cook to pull off. Chefs love the pungent punch of garlic that grated garlic brings to a dish — and home cooks can easily replicate this technique, too, without years of practice. Simply run a peeled clove back and forth on the Microplane. This will bring a hard-hitting garlic flavor and aroma to your dishes quickly and easily.

So, on top of zesting citrus, grating nutmeg, or making fluffy piles of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, a grater has another job on its resume. Best of all, a Microplane is easy to clean.