Garlic Lore and Handling Tips From Julia

Julia Child book


Garlic, which used to be considered exotic, if not suspiciously foreign, probably subversive, and certainly very "lower-class," is now the darling of food lovers and of all our chefs. It is smoked, roasted, caramelized, and has become part of our contemporary culinary culture. Gordon Hamersley's recipe for roasted garlic cloves and another for garlic simmered in cream are contained in this book, while useful notes on the humdrum tasks of peeling and of puréeing by hand, and how to rid the hands of that lingering reminder, are here in this box.

To Separate and To Peel Garlic Cloves: To separate the cloves from the head, shave the tops off the head, then bang down on the top of the head with your fist and the cloves will spring free. Except in the early summer, when the heads are firm and young, this technique may not do the trick—even so, it's a good start for the separation.

To peel a large number of cloves, drop them into a pan of boiling water and let boil for 30 seconds. Drain, drop them into cold water, then slip off the skins with your fingers.

purée Raw Garlic Cloves: You very frequently need garlic that is in an absolute purée—in salad dressings, in garlic mayonnaise, and so forth. The garlic press will do the job, but a garlic press, at least among certain of the food cognoscenti, is absolutely a no-no-non-object used only by non-people and non-cooks. Thus it behooves us all to know of and to be able to execute this perfect hand technique, which actually is fast and easy when you have several cloves of garlic that need the treatment.

Place a large clove of garlic on your work surface, lay the flat of your big knife upon it, and smash it with your fists. The peel is then easy to pick off and discard. Repeat with several other cloves, if needed. Then start mincing the garlic with your knife, and puréeing it by rubbing the flat of your knife back and forth over it. Sprinkle on a big pinch of salt, which will release the garlic juices, and in a very few minutes of vigorous mincing and rubbing you will have a perfectly smooth professional purée.

To Get the Smell of Garlic Off Your Hands: Perhaps the reason for garlic powder, most definitely spurned, scorned despised, and abominated among cooks in the know, is the lingering smell that raw garlic leaves on your hands. It's easy to get rid of: wash your hands in cold water and rub them all over with table salt, then wash in soap and warm water. Repeat if necessary, and the odor is gone.


by Julia Child
Photographs by Michael McLaughlin
U.S.A. $35.00, Canada $49.00 (Hardcover)
Alfred A. Knopf
Released 1995
ISBN: 0-679-76005-9
(Reprinted with permission.)


Julia Child's Cooking Tips
from "In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs"

Garlic Lore And Handling Tips From Julia
Julia's Strawberry or Raspberry Sauce or Coulis
Julia's Notes On Cooking Green Beans
Julia's Notes On Anchovies
Julia's Notes On Peeling, Seeding, and Juicing Tomatoes

More Julia Child

Tipping Our Toques to the True Master
Photos from the Julia Child Awards, May 1996

This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007