Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Garlic Presses


insalata_pazza
 Share

Recommended Posts

Normally I enjoy peeling and cutting garlic cloves, but occasionally, when I'm am really pressed for time :biggrin: , I'll use a garlic press. This usually happens when I'm already in the middle of cooking something and realize it would taste better with garlic (which is just about everything, I think).

But I've read so many recipes and cookbooks where chefs say they would never ever use one. Why? What is the crime in using a garlic press? Is it because of the texture or does something happen to the flavor of the garlic when it's pressed rather than minced?

Angie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I occasionally use a garlic press depending on the texture/flavor that I am going for.

I owned one many many years ago when I started cooking, but through it away when I read many frowning on their use. I picked it up again 2 years ago after the Cook's Illustrated guys gave me the go ahead! :biggrin: A lot of their recipes even call for garlic put through a press.

And it sure is a time saver!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that time is the determining factor. The press is quick, easy, and efficient, but, most serious cooks frown on their use, I guess for the "oil release" issue.

However, until we all get as efficient as Jacques Pepin in mincing garlic (whack! with the side of the knife, machine-gun fast knife-rocking over the crushed carcass, and a few swift side-swipes with the side of the blade to crush again and voila!), the press will probably never die.

Edited by lronick (log)

If you cook with s__t, you wind up with s__t...Gerard Pangaud

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My name is Varmint and I'm a garlic press-aholic. OK, I'm ready for the scorn, but I've conducted comparative tastings and have found no noticeable difference in taste. I love my press. It takes me 15 seconds to mince 6 to 8 cloves of the stuff. Nuff said!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I find them clumsy and a pain to clean. For me it takes more time to get out the press, peel the garlic, press it, get the last little hanger on pieces, clean it, and put it away than it does to whack it with my palm, chop it up and wipe the blade.

I think that the flavor issue might be due to the damaging of the cell structure in the garlic, which can lead to that raw or overpowering garlic flavor.

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For only a clove or two, mincing is far quicker (for me) than a press. If I'm doing more, let's say something like 7 or 8 heads, I have a small food processor that does a fantastic job. So far I haven't had a need for a press.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a press sometimes and mince or slice other times, depending on what I'm making. The problem with the press, as mentioned already, is that it ruptures the cells and releases the liquid (not sure it's oil, but that's beside the point). This can be a little harsh, and also tends to burn if you're sauteing. Because of that, if I have the time, I mince my garlic for sauteeing. But I've also found that if you're sauteeing it with other vegetables, you can just start sweating the other stuff until they're mostly done and then add pressed garlic and it doesn't burn.

However, the smash and chop method ruptures the cells almost as much, so I've never understood the claim that that method is so superior to a press. In my opinion, if you end up with a smushy paste, it doesn't matter how you get there.

One thing I've started doing, if I'm cooking something for an extended time, is to crush the cloves slightly and add them whole to what I'm making. Then I just remove them when I'm at the garlic threshold I want. Way easy.

As for presses, if you want to spend $30 or so, Rosle's press really is great. But I've always had good luck with my Zyliss (about $18 now, I think). I leave the cloves unpeeled. Not only is it less time consuming, but the skin keeps the garlic guts from sticking to the press. You can usually just pop out the remainder of the clove whole, without having to scrub and poke out any bits of garlic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My name is Varmint and I'm a garlic press-aholic.  OK, I'm ready for the scorn, but I've conducted comparative tastings and have found no noticeable difference in taste.  I love my press.  It takes me 15 seconds to mince 6 to 8 cloves of the stuff.  Nuff said!

tourist.

That would be Mr. Tourist to you.

Seriously, how many of you have truly done a taste comparison? Finely mincing garlic with a knife and salt doesnt' cause any more damage to cell walls than a press? Pshaw. I get the maximum flavor from a press, because I do it over the pan. Thus, all the volatile oils go into the dish as well, instead of adhering to your cutting board.

The other thing is that I use quite a lot of garlic and buy mine freshly peeled from Whole Foods. They peel it themselves, and since I don't have to peel it or mince it, I'm way ahead.

Coop- Is your order of preference based on taste? Texture? I'm going to take a Fat Guy like position and demand empirical studies of the difference!

Edited by Varmint (log)

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously, how many of you have truly done a tast comparison?

as with most things, i rely on common sense, and the opinons of people whom i respect and whose ideas seem to be in line with mine. and the experts say you're wrong. i don't have to do a side-by-side taste comparison to know you're wrong. it's really that simple. what is wrong with you people? :wacko:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the difference between pressing and chopping is significant. Pressing releases liquid and oil that chopping does not. Similar to the difference between grinding nuts and chopping nuts. Very different result.

The press I like is the good ol' reliable "Susi" by Zyliss, made in Switzerland. It comes with one of those plastic thingies that you can push through backwards through the holes to clean it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll continue to disagree, Nina. Chopping the garlic also causes the liquid to exude, but it is spread across the surface of the chopping board. I don't find the liquid objectionable. Plus, your nut analogy isn't exactly on point, because grinding them also causes the nuts to heat up.

I'll be the first to say I'm way off my rocker here, but I'll remain a skeptic. Maybe we'll do a double blind tasting.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even when one grinds nuts by hand, say in a mouli (sp?) grater?

Another difference is that pressing the garlic also smashes/smushes it. Chopping doesn't do that. Hence the difference in the release of oils/liquids.

Edited by La Niña (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of days ago I got an Omessi "E-Z-Rol" garlic peeler. It works GREAT!

649982-elec_lg-resized200.jpg

Put a clove (haven't tried it with more than one) in the roll, roll it on the table or cutting board under your palm, and PRESTO... a perfectly peeled clove.

More info at Epinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another difference is that pressing the garlic also smashes/smushes it.  Chopping doesn't do that.  Hence the difference in the release of oils/liquids.

Agreed, but if you ultimately are trying to obtain minced garlic and look at the end products: "smashed" garlic through a press and "minced" garlic with a knife, both of them have undergone dramatic mechanical alteration. Cell walls will be broken down, juices released in both instances. The only difference that I can visibly detect is that the pressed garlic has some remaining fibers stuck in the press, and no such "waste" exists when minced. Does this result in a taste difference.

Please, someone, convince me I'm wrong. Has Harold McGee or Shirley Corriher written on this?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

for the sake of argument, we should probably assume that when we say "chop", and we are comparing this "chopping" with the garlic press method, we're talking about the typical chop, smush, and mash method a la pepin. otherwise, it's clear without a taste test that the texture would be different, and by extension, the flavor, oils or not.

edit: just like what varmint said. :blink:

Edited by tommy (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For only a clove or two, mincing is far quicker (for me) than a press. If I'm doing more, let's say something like 7 or 8 heads, I have a small food processor that does a fantastic job. So far I haven't had a need for a press.

What about, say, 9-14 cloves? Do you just stand there, mouth agape, arms folded, with your eyes jumping back and forth from your knife to your processor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember watching a lady chef preparing a dish on some cooking show years ago and she was spouting the party line about how she did not believe in garlic presses OR knives for garlic as it was to "harsh" on the garlic. She then proceeded to toss it in and smash the crap out of it in a mortar & pestle! :shock: Oh yeah, that was delicate... :wacko:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

for the sake of argument, we should probably assume that when we say "chop", and we are comparing this "chopping" with the garlic press method, we're talking about the typical chop, smush, and mash method a la pepin.  otherwise, it's clear without a taste test that the texture would be different, and by extension, the flavor, oils or not.

edit:  just like what varmint said.  :blink:

I will readily agree that coarsely chopped, sliced and whole garlic is different than minced garlic. That's a matter of surface area. I often throw a bunch of whole cloves in olive oil over low to medium heat and pan roast them until they're golden. This adds a great and sweetish garlic flavor to the dish.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of days ago I got an Omessi "E-Z-Rol" garlic peeler. It works GREAT!

649982-elec_lg-resized200.jpg

Put a clove (haven't tried it with more than one) in the roll, roll it on the table or cutting board under your palm, and PRESTO... a perfectly peeled clove.

More info at  Epinion.

Oh yeah! You peel your garlic in a piece of spinach manicotti! :laugh:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...