Onion & Garlic 101

Learn the basics of preparing onion and garlic with Carla Hall of Top Chef New York. Carla will show you the essential principles you need to know when working with these essential ingredients.

Learn the basics of preparing onion and garlic with Carla Hall of Top Chef New York. Carla will show you the essential principles you need to know when working with these essential ingredients.

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] Hi, welcome to Top Chef University. I'm Carla, finalist from Top Chef New York. Our first course is all about the basics and this lesson is all about basic technique. Two of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking are onion and garlic. In this lesson we'll cover the techniques for peeling, slicing and dicing an onion. We'll try not to make you cry too much. We'll also show you how to peel, mince, roast and paste fresh garlic. Let's get started. [SOUND] Garlic is one of the most commonly used ingredients throughout the culinary world And for those of you who can't have it, I'm sorry. Garlic has an amazing pungent spicy flavor when it's raw, and it mellows and sweetens considerably once cooked, thus making it indispensable in a lot of recipes. Not to mention, it has long been touted that a garlic rich diet is good for your health. So here's a fresh whole bulb. As you can see it's made up of a cluster of cloves. To break it up simply place the whole head on the board and then with the palm of your hand, push down on the top, and the cloves will separate. [SOUND] And now you have individual cloves. To peel the cloves. Lay a clove on the board and use the side of the knife to gently bash. This loosens the paper. And this comes away very nicely. From here, you can run your knife through the clove to give you fine slices. This is a great way for dishes where you wanna see the garlic, and you can even fry the slices. Which will give you a beautiful garlic infused oil, and also, pretty garlic chips. To mince the garlic, take your whole peeled clove and remove the tough root part. Smash it just like you did when peeling it, only smash it much flatter this time so it disintegrates. Nothing wrong [SOUND] with taking out a little aggression. Now run your knife through it back and forth. Until you've reached the desired consistency. [NOISE] To take it to the final stage of garlic paste simply add a sprinkle of kosher salt to your pile of minced garlic and use the flat side of the blade against the board to smear the garlic and turn it into a paste The salt simply adds a coarse abrasive texture which helps to break down the garlic more easily. Some people also like to add a little bit of oil to help the pasting process. [BLANK_AUDIO] And that's it, the paste is perfect for sauces or marinades when you want the garlic to blend in completely. Now, another trick of mine is to use the microplane to add minced garlic directly to soups or stews into the pot. I love this, it's like having little knives. Now, another preparation you will hear a lot of or see in recipes is roasted garlic. When garlic is roasted, it mellows out the sharp, spicy flavor of raw garlic and yields a beautiful velvety pulp that is actually great just like that on its own. To prepare a roasted garlic pulp, you just take the whole garlic, and you slice it, slice the top off Just like that, and then you sprinkle a little salt on top, and olive oil. [BLANK_AUDIO] And then you just fold up your little pouch. Now, the thing is, you want to make sure you're roasting, not steaming. So you cut a few slits in the top, [BLANK_AUDIO] So that it doesn't steam. And now, here we have this beautiful roasted garlic. And you see how brown it is? You know that honey, there's flavor in the brown. And now all you need to do is push out the garlic cloves on to another plate. Throw away the paper. [BLANK_AUDIO] Yum. So onion is another essential savory in most dishes. They add a dept of flavor and they are truly the foundation for many sauces and stocks. Here's how to work with them. Make a small slice down one side of the onion from the tip to the root with a knife. And the cut should just be deep enough to go through the outer skin and one layer. ANd then just peel it back. [BLANK_AUDIO] And now, you're ready to cut. You're going to slice the onion straight through. Flat side down, again, so that your food doesn't roll around and keeping the root end on. This will hold the layers of onion together when you've cut it up. Further you can slice an onion lengthwise to give you pretty crescents or you can slice it crosswise to give even nicer slices. [BLANK_AUDIO] [NOISE] So you just make nice crescents. And when you get to the half, just tilt your onion over and do the same thing again. [BLANK_AUDIO] So now, to dice. Let me show you how to do it. Let's grab an onion which has already been peeled, and with the cut side down, slice straight through the root. And you're gonna make a series of horizontal cuts, not cutting through the root ends [BLANK_AUDIO] And then you're gonna make some vertical cuts. Again, not extending your knife past the root. [BLANK_AUDIO] And then just straight down. And here you have your nice beautiful dice. Keep on slicing and dicing. The more you practice, the better your technique. In the next lesson, we'll get into preparing [UNKNOWN], the foundation of stocks, sauces and flavoring dishes. Sounds intimidating, but it's just a fancy term for prepping and slicing celery and carrots. So wipe those tears and get ready to impress your friends with a fancy term and even fancier knife skills. [MUSIC]
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Onion & Garlic 101


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