10 Second How-To: Garlic Paste

Over the past year or so, I’ve been making a concerted effort to become a better cook. Better than, at least, sticking pasta into boiling water and calling it dinner. Part of this effort has entailed creating a cookbook library (pretty pictures always get me in the cooking mood) and trying out new recipes from them. While I think I’m more or less okay at most of the tasks required within these recipes, there is one that has continued to stump me: making garlic paste. I can’t count how many recipes I’ve encountered in recent months that have said something like, “mince your garlic and crush it into a fine paste,” but they all seem to be operating under the assumption that I’m a superhero. After crushing and crushing and even using a mortar and pestle to crush, I still was left with little more than squished, tiny pieces of garlic. Paste? How did they expect me to make anything resembling paste??

Luckily, the wonderful Julia Turshen was on hand recently to teach me how, once and for all, to do this RIGHT. And you know what? After learning this super simple method, I feel like a superhero. All you need is a knife, a cutting board, some coarse salt, and garlic. Crush your garlic with the flat part of your knife blade, add some coarse salt to the mix, and continue crushing using a rocking motion. The salt acts as an abrasive agent that breaks up the garlic’s fibers and allows it to—finally—form into a lovely paste! —Max



Can Julia be a weekly guest? She looks like THE nicest person, is a fab chef, AND grace’s wife? I’m in. Also–pasta is my go to, so this paste just got upgraded to my new repertoire.


Love this. Now I don’t have to drag out a mortar and pestle. Any tips for peeling garlic? Such a pain. That’s another tip I’d like to have in my bag of tricks.

Maxwell Tielman

Peaches— I usually peel garlic one of two ways. My favorite method is with a garlic peeler—it’s a silicone tube that you roll a garlic clove inside of until its skin just pops right off! You can purchase them at most kitchen supply stores. The second method involves simply crushing the clove with the flat end of a knife. This helps to separate the skin from the clove and allows you to peel it off more easily.


Great post, but please don’t tell me you cook on that surface! Put the table on risers because your back must be killing you! Rise up, then keep cooking excellent things!