Watching professional chefs mince garlic is always mesmerizing. The truly skilled masters of the kitchen can easily turn this vampire-repelling spice into a puree-like ingredient using nothing more than their steely sharp knives and the lightning-quick movements of their wrists that can put even The Flash to shame. But for ordinary mortals like most of us who happen to have neither the knife skills nor the samurai katana-sharp blades that dance through the garlic, we definitely need something a lot easier yet equally effective way of mincing garlic.
Mincing and the Garlicky Taste
As a rule, the more individual garlic cells are damaged, the more intense is the garlic flavor. That is why putting a whole clove of garlic will only impart a very mild garlicky flavor. Crush it a bit and the pungency is substantially increased. Slicing it will make the garlic taste even more pronounced. Now try chopping the same garlic clove and it will have that intense garlicky flavor that can easily repel vampires within a 10-mile radius. Mince it and you can perhaps create a safe haven for would-be vampire targets for hundreds of miles.
You see, garlic contains a substance known as allilin which, when exposed to the enzyme allinase, can produce allicin. This is the compound that gives garlic its pungent flavor and very strong aroma. The thing is that, when individual garlic cells are destroyed through the different methods of preparing garlic, allilin and allinase react to form allicin. The more garlic cells that are damaged, the greater is the amount of allicin produced.
This is why mincing your garlic is one of the best ways you can impart that strong garlic essence that you want in your dish.
Ways to Mince Your Garlic
Given that mincing is a lot better than simply dicing, slicing, or even crushing in terms of releasing allicin from garlic to give it its characteristic flavor and aroma required of certain dishes, you should know that there are a number of ways you can mince garlic. Let’s look at them before we go to the best one.
- Knife Mincing
Professional chefs will never use any gadget other than their trusted knives when it comes to mincing garlic. Knife-mincing garlic involves rocking the knife over the garlic, see-sawing the blade until the garlic has been reduced to fine bits. The problem with this is that it doesn’t destroy as many garlic cells as possible. The garlic taste may not be as intense as you’ve hoped for.
- Garlic Pressing
Very few professional chefs will ever admit to using garlic presses, although there are celebrity chefs who are not really ashamed to use these gadgets just to ‘speed up’ the process of mincing. The logic is sound. Unfortunately, the way some of these gadgets are designed produce far worse garlic minces than mincing it with a knife. While this gadget can make mincing garlic so much easier, most will come out as juice and irregular squiggles.
Related Post: Best Garlic Presses
- Mortar and Pestle
This is one of the easiest ways to mince garlic, although it looks a lot closer to being crushed to a pulpy consistency. The unfortunate thing about using mortar and pestle is that the garlic flavor is not really as intense. Garlic that has been minced in garlic presses even taste better.
- Knife Pureed
Only the master chef can puree garlic using an ordinary kitchen knife. It’s more of a combination of crushing the garlic with the blade of your knife that’s been slanted at an angle. This has one of the most intense garlic flavors you can ever find.
Garlic that has been minced using a microplane may look like it has been pureed. A microplane is similar to a super-fine cheese grater. This allows it to slice garlic into really thin pieces. It is also one of the easiest ways to mince garlic while allowing you to enjoy the full flavors and aromas of garlic in its greatest intensity.
The Fork Method – The Easiest and Quickest Way to Mince Garlic
Not all kitchens have a garlic press or a microplane or even a mortar and pestle. However, every kitchen will always have a fork. This utensil happens to be one of the coolest tools you can have to mince a clove or two of garlic.
Simply peel the clove of garlic. Put the tines of the fork over the garlic and press it down with all your might. This breaks the garlic into sections. Reposition your fork about 90 degrees then press on the garlic again. Do this in different directions many times until you’ve reached the desired texture of the garlic. If you keep at it, you might even turn the garlic into a puree or even a paste.
Now, that is a neat trick that you really would want to do from now on.