How to use garlic
Garlic is not always the highly aggressive seasoner that many people think it to be. To understand the full range of its seductive power, you need to sample it in its different stages.
Always buy garlic that is firm and heavy to the touch, with no soft spots. Store in an airy place, not in the refrigerator. A clove of garlic is one section of the bulb.
Always peel garlic unless otherwise directed. If you smash an unpeeled garlic clove lightly with the flat blade of a knife, you'll find it easier to peel.
Raw garlic is most assertive and the taste will linger a long time. That said, don't impose chunks of it on a salad or a sandwich. Use it sparingly-unless of course you want that dominant flavor. Finely minced is usually best. For just a hint of garlic in a salad, try just rubbing a cut clove around the bowl or plate.
Chopped garlic cooked in hot fat will give a very pronounced garlic flavor to food. Be careful not to let it brown or the flavor will become bitter. Adding chopped raw garlic to a dish you are baking or broiling will give it the dominant garlic taste also.
Garlic cloves, whole or crushed, when cooked for a long time in a soup or stew or braised dish, will impart a richness and divine flavor to the sauce. should never overwhelm.
Whole cloves of garlic, uncrushed, cooked slowly, either a whole head baked or the bulbs of garlic just separated and scattered around meat or poultry in a tightly covered dish, will surprise you the most with the mildness. When you crush the cooked cloves of garlic, the inside will be delicate and buttery. Very delicious to mop up with some fresh bread.
A garlic press releases garlic oils in the most volatile way, leaving very little but garlic juice. Mincing and or chopping gives you more pulp with the juice and is really more satisfactory, especially if you saute' the garlic pieces. When you smash or crush a whole clove of garlic, it releases its flavor but remains whole and can easily removed from the cooking pot if you desire.