At first I was skeptical. “It looks like a pain to wash” I thought, as I hypocritically scrubbed the garlic bits out of the garlic press. Then I wondered “Do I really use that much garlic that I need a dedicated garlic gadget….make that another dedicated garlic gadget”? Silly question. Forget I even asked it. If you are heavy handed with the garlic (and really, you should be) then this little tool might just expand your garlicky horizons.
Minced garlic and pressed garlic are often interchanged in recipes, but they’re not really the same thing. Take this experiment from fine cooking, for example. Four taste testers were asked to compare garlic bread with minced garlic to that with pressed garlic. Two people said minced was more garlicky, two people said pressed was more garlicky, and the author concluded that there must have been no difference. Perhaps this sort of experience is the basis for the interchangeable nature in recipes, but I beg to differ. I think the conclusion of that test was that everyone agreed that the flavor was different, but not everyone agreed which was more “garlicky”.
Minced garlic has less surface area than pressed, so it should be more mellow and more nutty. Sliced garlic even more so, on up to whole garlic which can be quite sweet when cooked. Pressed garlic, on other hand, can be quite potent, even bitter. Serious Eats author Daniel Gritzer describes a failed shrimp scampi recipe in which he added finely microplaned garlic to hot oil. The result? “The microplaned garlic wasn’t just more intense than minced, it was downright noxious. You could defeat an army with its mustard gas-like punch”. Now I’d think you’d notice that on your garlic bread….
So what’s my point here. My point is that unless you have the knife skills of Masaharu Morimoto, you may reach for that trusty garlic press more often than the knife. And you may end up with more bitter notes because of it. So, if you’re already a heavy garlic press user, you may enjoy the same convenience, easier clean up (seriously!) and different flavor notes in your favorite recipes from the garlic cube. One side gives you a perfect mince, the other a perfectly even slice.
Oh. And if anyone is running that garlic bread experiment again, we make excellent taste testers. Just sayin’.