I know I’m not the only person out there that finds chopping garlic to be kind of a pain. It’s all sticky so most of the pieces cling to the knife, and overall becomes a bit of a mess. And to get the garlic into itty bitty bits takes several passes. If there was an easier, faster, cleaner way to pulverize my garlic, I was willing to listen.
My first attempt at garlic chopping efficiency was a garlic press. I went to Kohl’s and picked out the heaviest garlic press I could get my hands on (OXO brand). I figured the heavier the better. I didn’t want this press to fall apart or wimp out when I put some force on it. Also, I wanted the smashing ends to be steel, not plastic. No plastic.
The garlic press, while quick to use, was pretty much a garlic smasher. Some of the garlic would come out of the press, but most of it would mash up inside the press and didn’t get to the consistency I wanted.
So, heeding the advice of several cookbooks and my Dad, I sucked it up and ponied up the $15 dollars for a microplane grater. The name doesn’t leave anything up to the imagination about what exactly this is. Break it down. Micro – small ass shit. Plane – fighter jet. Grater – something that cuts or shreds junk into small bits. Put it all together and you have a Small Ass Shit Fighter Jet that cuts or shreds junk into small bits. Yup, that’s what I want.
The device is about an inch wide by one foot long. There is a sleek and sexy rubber grip, and clear plastic metal sheath (very important). I first tried it out with garlic and was pleasantly surprised with how effective it was. Running the clove quickly back and forth over the grater the garlic just melts away. All the juices and oils from the garlic run over and through the grater seemingly unlocking all of its flavor. So from a standpoint of pulverizing the garlic and getting it into small pieces, this grater does a fantastic job! It turns garlic, ginger, lemon or lime zest into an ultra fine pulp. This is what you want when making salad dressings, sauces, or anything where you want a smooth consistency.
However, the down side to the microplane grater are two-fold. First fold – the pulp of the thing being grated doesn’t fall into the bowl you’re grating into. ( I end sentences with prepositions, and don’t thing twice about it!) Getting it off of the grater can kind of be a pain. You have to use your finger to remove everything which can get kind of messy. And if you recall, the messiness of chopping the garlic was something I was looking to avoid.
Second fold – holding small cloves or whatever you are grating can be a little tough. Remember, the garlic will just melt away so in no time you are down to the stub, and the last thing you want to do is grate your finger tips. A salad dressing of fresh garlic and finger blood is not what you want. Let me elaborate on this second point a little more. Before you grate the garlic you need to remove all the paper covering. This is usually done by smashing it with your hand of knife. However, when you do this, the clove becomes smashed as well and therefore difficult to hold as one piece. So if you are planning on using the grater, be careful about removing the covering from the clove. Don’t go all Bam Bam on it and smash the crap out of it. Be a little patient.
All things considered this is a worthwhile tool to have in your kitchen arsenal. Despite its limitations, specifically with garlic, it really does a great job. I know I have harped on garlic a lot, but I love it so much and use it all the time. And so should you! The $15 investment is well worth the fun and results you will get from this grater. I give this a buy recommendation!