April 26, 2010

A Call to Grate-Ness

Sometimes a recipe calls for garlic. But the prep demands that it is not diced, sliced, nor chopped, but…well…mushed.  I’m not sure what the technical term is for this action, but I’ve watched many chefs take chopped garlic, some rough sea salt, and with their knife, grind it into a fine pulp. It is a superb technique when you desire a dish to merely have an essence of garlic, rather than chunks of it. But clearly, even a sprinkle of sea salt is too much sodium for this Girl. And I’ve often wondered, is there another solution for pulping garlic besides using this natural sand paper?

Now here’s the real rub. After perusing the Food Network, per usual, I happened upon Ms. Rachel Ray dancing about her studio kitchen, balancing amazing amounts of bowls, ingredients, and spices. And then, amidst the culinary circus act, a shinning moment of brilliance. Ms. Ray was making very juicy hamburgers (yum-O) and was stuffing them with fresh herbs and pulped garlic. But instead of using the sea salt technique, which I’ve seen her use before, she busted out her nifty microplane and grated away.

I know what you’re saying, I have a garlic press already and it practically does the same thing. But I think using a microplane is a much simpler solution and easier to clean. Big bonus.

I’ve already used Ms. Ray’s trick for the Ricotta Crackers I made last week – the garlic simply melted into the dough. And if you haven’t treated yourself to a microplane yet, it’s time.  Zest, grate, get creative and add punch to your food, without much effort. It’s just a simple reminder from me and Ms. Ray to use your imagination when cooking – whether it is with ingredients or with tools – and stretch them beyond their supposed purpose. You never know what kind of mess or masterpiece you’ll end up with.

Chow on.

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