Cooking Technique: Finely Mincing Garlic



Many of my recipes call for finely minced garlic.  There are basically two popular methods for mincing garlic.  Most people use a chef or Santoku knife and chop the garlic on a cutting board.  Another method is to use a garlic press, which does not produce a fine mince.  There is another method for finely mincing garlic which involves cutting a clove of garlic in a cross-hatch manner to achieve the finest and cleanest mince possible.  You can watch the technique in my demonstration video.

Chopping garlic with a knife produces an acceptable mince; however, you can only mince to a certain degree before the garlic juices start to release and the garlic becomes sticky and paste-like.  Using salt to keep the garlic from getting tacky is good for getting a relatively fine mince, however, at a certain point the salt will also start to draw out the juices.  Using a garlic press releases a lot of the garlic juices.  It’s kind of like placing olives in an olive press to make olive oil.  It mashes the fruit instead of leaving the cut pieces intact.  Pressed garlic is great for sauces or marinades but it can be over-powering otherwise.

I was taught to use the cross-hatch cutting method to mince garlic by my grandmother.  It produces a fine cut.  Take a peeled clove of garlic and cut the top off so you have a flat surface.  Using a small thin bladed knife, make little cuts across the top in one direction with, approximately 1/8 to 1/16- inch deep.  The closer the cuts are together, the finer the particles will be.  Then make the cuts in the opposite direction in a cross-hatch fashion.  Then cut a thin slice across the whole top and you know have a very fine mince.  As always, you should be very cautious when using a knife blade.

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