In this photo taken Feb. 25, 2010, garlic bulbs and shallot are shown in New Market, Va. They are flavor enhancers and a major ingredient for a great many recipes. They're also easy to grow in containers since they don't need as much shoulder room as most vining crops. (AP Phot/Dean Fosdick)
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:09AM
Q. I have trouble dealing with garlic. Can you give me some pointers?
A. Garlic is a go-to ingredient in Italian cooking and for many other cuisines. In a few minutes, learn how to prep it properly, no matter the recipe you’re making.
Step 1: Remove layers of skin from the garlic
Garlic comes wrapped in layers of papery skin. Take off some of these layers.
Step 2: Break up the cloves.
Next, smash the head of garlic with the heel of your hand to loosen the cloves. Break up the cloves with your fingers. Tip: Only need a few cloves? Pull off a few and leave the head intact.
Step 3: Peel the cloves.
To peel the clove, lay it flat on the cutting board and trim away the root end with the tip of your knife.
Step 4: Crush garlic.
Lay the flat side of your knife over the clove while holding the handle. With the heel of your other hand, carefully give your knife a good whack — this will separate the skin from the clove. Now that you’ve peeled the clove of garlic, it can be used in various ways: crushed, sliced or minced. To crush garlic, lay your knife over the garlic again and smash it a little bit more. Tip: Use this preparation in long-cooking stews, soups or roasts.
Step 5: Slice garlic.
Take a peeled clove and lay it flat on the cutting board. Hold the garlic between the fingertips of one hand, curling them under just slightly. Using a rocking motion with your knife, make thin slices by moving the knife bit by bit across the clove.
Step 6: Mince garlic.
First, crush a clove of garlic. Then, give it a rough chop. Next, hold your knife and lay the other hand flat across the tip. Use a rocking motion to chop the garlic until finely minced. Tip: Minced garlic distributes the flavor more fully in a dish and is great in sauces and marinades.