11/04/2011 11:25 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Peel And Chop Garlic

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to remove the cloves from a bulb of garlic, and then dehusk and chop the individual cloves.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Brannon Soileau from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to work with garlic.

This is a head of garlic we're looking at right here. To break the cloves out of the head, I use the weight of the hand; I put the heel of the hand onto the clove and just lean on it. As you lean on it, you break that bulb up and you see that all these little individual pieces pop right out. Now you have what's known as the cloves -- and that's your next challenge.

I'm going to use the larger knife and place it on top of the clove. Make sure your knife is not angled up, meaning the blade toward you; I always point the blade away, and always point it down. I'm going to use the heel of this hand and I'm going to give it a firm little tap. That tap cracks the outer skin of the clove.

You notice the ends are already broken off the clove, and you see that it kind of opens the husk of it. I can easily pull the clove outside the husk and the root that holds it. And now I have a fresh clove of garlic.

I start at the edge, and I want to slice as fine vertical slices as I can, not going through the actual root of the garlic. Then I turn the garlic horizontally and make a slice down the center - again, not going through the root, keeping it intact. I go back again with my horizontal slices, and now I have minced garlic. It's pretty simple, pretty fast.

The last thing I'm going to speak to you about is the smell on your hands. One option is, I know people who take sea salt or kosher salt and rub salt on the hands as an astringent; that does remove it. And there's another one: you can go to a stainless steel spoon. You wash your hands, and then rub them all over a stainless steel product, and it does help remove the smell of the garlic.