Learn how to chop garlic! Watch a budding chef demonstrate a fast, safe technique to chop garlic and make a garlic vinaigrette for salads, side dishes and marinades. Plus, discover planting tips for growing garlic at home.
After visiting Ballantrae Garlic Farm, 14-year-old Tom was inspired to learn more about cooking with garlic. So, Tom created his own “house” garlic vinaigrette for salads, side dishes and marinades.
In the video below, Tom is working with Ballantrae’s heritage garlic. After a smell and taste test, Ballantrae garlic, not surprisingly, won over bottled garlic! Finding a local source like Ballantrae can help bring out the true character of your garlic.
Remember to taste and test your food as you work! Tasting allows you to correct the flavour as you go instead of waiting until it’s too late.
Next, Tom demonstrates a fast, safe chopping technique for garlic-infused recipes. This technique is much quicker (with a little experience) than using a garlic press.
Learning safe chef knife technique that includes safe cutting board practice is a time-saver. View more safe knife skill tips here.
Tom is being supervised while he uses a sharpened chef’s knife (dull knives can be dangerous). He sets up a large, sturdy cutting board, held firmly in place with a wet cloth or grip underneath.
Tom crushes the garlic buds using the bulk of the knife blade against the bud and the cutting board. This will make the garlic easier to chop later on. Tom then guides the side of the knife safely with the base of his hand to remove any sticky garlic skins.
Notice that Tom uses his dominant hand to hold the knife handle when he transitions to chopping. His other hand remains safely out of the way, placed on top of the knife (away from the tip) for better balance. Tom slowly sweeps the sticking garlic from the side of the blade, careful not to touch the sharp edge.
How finely you want your garlic chopped is up to you. In most cases, you can ignore the directions for finely chopped garlic. Medium-fine works just as well! Explore and chop as large (it’s a time-saver!) or as fine as you want!
Tom now transitions to full chopping mode by rocking the blade on the board over the garlic, keeping his other hand safely out of the way. There’s no need to push down on the knife. Be gentle, and remember to keep your eyes on the board!
Vinaigrette is a mixture of an oil and a sour, combined with other seasonings and blending ingredients. It’s an easy way for adults and kids alike to play with different flavours. Homemade vinaigrette is a quick, five-minute flavour fix for meals. Make extra to reduce future prep time, as it lasts for weeks in the fridge.
Tom pre-tasted ingredients to use in his creation. He chose olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon and a bit of Dijon mustard to combine with fresh herbs and garlic. The final taste test is a success! He’s happy with his food artistry!
To complete the meal, we rubbed fresh garlic buds on bread to create a quick, no-fuss crouton.
Stay tuned for the release of our triple-tested, farm vegetable and garlic crème fraîche pie!
Interested in growing garlic at home?
Farmer Paula Willinksy walks Chef Nancy and Tom through the steps in a voice recording below. “Garlic is a tough plant, and it will grow in just about anything and adapts itself to conditions as it grows,” Paula explained to us. Here are Paula’s top planting tips:
You can grow garlic in a pot or your backyard. All you need to get started is soil, a standard-sized pot (terra cotta works well) and a garlic bud or two.
Try these garlic-including, family-friendly recipe systems: