In a busy restaurant kitchen, garlic is not something you will often see a cook lovingly peel and mince. There is no time for that.
Gallons of pre-peeled cloves are instead dumped into a commercial processor daily to be broken down into a fine paste, destined to be used up by the next day. It’s a high demand ingredient, a foundational part of close to every dish on the menu.
I never learned to like that task.
I never liked it because it made me face something important about cooking, and thus life. There is a distance between the intimacy of moderation and the weight of excess. What we can see and taste and hold in exuberant quantities stands to lose its charm. The senses become dulled and the sensual connection, lost.
And so, the romantic pungency of a single clove of garlic becomes noxious in high volume.
On another garlic note, sometimes we need to peel more than a couple of cloves and ASAP, so here is a little technique for making that easy: blanching.
Blanching is also an excellent way to soften the edge of garlic, and may be helpful for those who find raw garlic hard to digest. In this case, simmer a little longer, 5 to 6 minutes.
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