It’s safe to say that garlic is by far my most favorite food item in the kitchen. I love the way it smells when it cooks, the perfect bite it gives simple dishes, and the large amount of flavor it has packed into such a little thing. Growing up, the only version I ever saw was in the form of garlic salt my mom used to sprinkle on roasts. The first time I learned what a garlic mincer was, I was well into my twenties. Since then, I have grown to love cooking with fresh garlic, and use it just about every day. Along the way, I’ve learned the best way to prepare it, cook with it, and use it to bring out the best flavors in other food items. Now I’m going to share this wisdom with you.
First of all, the best way to use garlic is always in its freshest form. You can buy garlic as salt, powder, peeled, minced, or completely fresh. Some people prefer to buy garlic peeled or already minced, but I find this alters the flavor in a way that I don’t like. When you mince the garlic right before you cook with it, the flavor it produces is simply amazing.
Using freshly peeled and minced garlic also helps you avoid smelling like garlic for the next 48 hours. Whenever my husband eats garlic from somewhere else, he smells like garlic for 2 straight days. However, he never has this odor from the garlic that I cook with. I attribute this to the fact that I only use completely fresh garlic, and not the canned kind. The next time your recipe calls for fresh garlic, try peeling and mincing it yourself.
I’ve found the best way to bring out the full flavor of the garlic is by sauteing it for a few minutes before mixing it in with other things. When you cook it with a touch of olive oil, the flavor seems to come out stronger than ever. This works especially well when your recipe asks for you to add the garlic to other things in a pan.
My last word of advice is to be generous when it comes to garlic. If you like the flavor, don’t hesitate to add more than a recipe calls for, or to a recipe that doesn’t call for it at all. Adding flavor with garlic is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to alter a dish.