The smash-and-peel technique for garlic, by now, is well documented. Watch just about any cooking show on television where the host still actually cooks, and you'll probably see the host perform it at least once. In case you aren't familiar with it though, it involves placing a single clove on the work surface, placing the side of a chef's knife (or similar size knife) on it, and smashing it with the palm of your hand.
There are a few disadvantages to this technique, however. You end up with smashed garlic, and if you slip, well… the results aren't pretty. And, you're only doing one clove at a time.
So, what's a home cook to do when in the mood to make, say, 40-clove chicken? We've got a few neat tricks you might want to try at home.
The first helps speed up breaking the head of garlic into individual cloves. Peel off the outer layers from the top of the head until the cloves are exposed. Then, place both hands on top of the head of garlic, palm over palm, and press down with your body weight. The cloves will separate easily (and a few of them may fly away). Repeat as necessary.
Now you've got two choices.
The first option is very loud. Place the individual cloves into a mixing bowl. Take another similar size mixing bowl and place it on top, inverted. Grasp the rims and shake vigorously up and down while holding the bowls together. Most of the skins will loosen naturally.
The second option is quieter but takes longer. Fill a bowl or container large enough to fit all of the garlic cloves with hot water. Soak the garlic until the skins loosen. When the water cools enough for you to place your hands in it, you can slip off the skins from the cloves.
These may not be life-altering experiences, but we hope these tips will help you save time in the kitchen.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.