The MOM 100 Blog
So, when you are cooking with garlic, you don’t usually need to chop it super-fine, because when it cooks, it will soften and mellow, and blend itself into the dish. But if you are using garlic in an uncooked dish, you usually do want a pretty fine mince, because it can be unpleasant to bite into a big chunk of raw garlic in a dressing or a salad or what have you.
Here’s a tip for mincing garlic really finely and – if you keep going – making it into a paste, which will pretty much dissolve into whatever you are mixing it with. Smash a clove or two (or five) of garlic with the side of a heavy knife, slip off the papery skin, and start chopping it on a cutting board with a knife. As it gets chopped, add a pinch or so of kosher or sea salt, and keep chopping. The salt acts as an abrasive so that the garlic gets minced, fine, finer, finest. Every once in a while, use the side of the knife to smear the garlic against the cutting board, then scrape it back up and keep mincing. You can even hear the salt crunching under the blade of the knife as it works to help pulverize the garlic.
Stop when the garlic is as finely minced as desired, and remember that there is already some salt mixed in, so use a lighter hand when you season the finished dish.
And check out the video version of this tip. Ta da.