– Whoa, it’s swimming. Whoa! – [Crew member] It says something’s getting warm. There’s something, it’s kind of freaking out a little bit. – Okay, let me look. In these momentous of days, I have an important thing that I want to talk to you about, it’s how you cut your garlic.
(gentle music) We’re gonna get into a little bit of garlic minutiae here. I think most of us know, who have done some cooking, that how you cut your garlic can have an effect on its flavor in your recipe.
Whole cloves are the mildest, sliced is in the middle, and minced garlic is the most intense. This is basic science. It’s because the pungency of garlic comes out when you break the cells open in the act of cutting.
It’s a defense mechanism that the plant developed. But here’s the question. What about when you mince garlic, do the different methods matter? Let’s find out. There are a few different ways to do it. Three of the most common are mincing with a knife, microplaning with a microplane grater, or pressing it in a garlic press.
So my sense is that most people kind of just have their go-to method when a recipe calls for mincing garlic, you just go to it and you do whichever your method is. If you prefer to use a knife, you use a knife, if you use a garlic press, use a garlic press, if you like the microplane, use a microplane.
But maybe, just maybe they’re not exactly the same, and sometimes you might wanna be a little bit more deliberate about your choice. So, I’ve got some garlic here. I’ve got my tools. I’ve done these tests before, I already know the answer, but let’s do it for fun.
For science. The reaction takes place pretty much instantly when you break the cells open, but it does also happen over time. So I’m gonna do this in the order of speed. I’m gonna hand mince first. I’m gonna micro plane second.
And I’m gonna garlic press third. And that way there’s, I think that’ll minimize the time that the first sample is sitting before I’ve moved on to the last. Hand mincing the garlic. Normally I would crush the clove under the blade, but since I’ve already gotten started cutting these, I’ll just follow through.
(chopping) There are other ways to mince garlic. You could actually kind of truly dice it, where you do cross-cuts on the clove, but I’m doing this the way I would normally do it at home, which is the fast way.
Microplane. Here we go. Now these, the micro-plane is like chemically-etched teeth. I think that’s how they do it. They like cut it with chemicals or something. I think. I first saw a chef make a mayo and he microplaned a clove of garlic into it.
And that was the first time that I saw the microplaning trick. And my mind was blown. I was like whoa, why have I been wasting my time mincing garlic by hand when you can just micro plane it? This certainly does an extremely effective job at finely mincing your garlic, I mean practically pureeing it in no time.
I get the appeal, 100%. All right, and now finally – garlic press. This is by far, I think, the most maligned method of mincing garlic out there. Chefs, Anthony Bourdain, was very famous for saying that this was the worst way you could possibly mince garlic.
You know, I don’t love it, but I have to say I think it, it gets a little bit of an unnecessarily bad rap. It does make a lot of garlicky juice, which the other methods don’t, but is it so terrible? I don’t know.
Okay, test time. Hand minced garlic. I’ll just take a tiny little pinch. I feel bad for my family right now. Okay, look it’s raw garlic. It’s got some punch, but all things considered, there’s like a moment of burn, but it’s short-lived.
It’s actually quite tolerable considering that’s just pure raw garlic. It’s not that bad. Similarly tiny bit of microplane. And this burns right away! It burns right away. It’s instant, aggressive burn on my tongue, and in my throat.
This is the problem with the micro plane. This is why we’re doing this. Here’s the garlic press. There’s a burn that sets in much more than the minced. It’s like the minced garlic, it doesn’t burn on the tip of my tongue as soon as it makes contact.
There’s like, after you chew it for a minute, you get a little bit in the throat, back of the tongue and throat. The micro plane, it’s like it sears your tongue the instant it touches it. Right where it makes contact, it burns you.
The garlic press, there’s a delay. You do get the burn on the tip of your tongue, but it doesn’t hit quite as fast as the microplane. What would I do? Any recipe where the garlic is going to be raw or very briefly cooked, like a shrimp scampi, very quickly in a pan, I’m gonna be more thoughtful about my method.
Because I know from experience, from tests like these, that the hand minced garlic will be much more pleasant to eat and taste than something like the microplane, which can make your dish unpleasantly pungent and harsh.
If it’s a longer-cooked dish, some kind of a long-simmered sauce or braise where you’re mincing the garlic, over time with that long cooking this intensity gets cooked out of the garlic and it matters a lot less.
So is there a right or wrong way to do it? No. But the next time you’re going to mince garlic, maybe stop and just think for a minute about what the best method may be for the dish in question.