Easy answer: Either technique can result in similar outcomes. Allicin, the universally beloved aroma extracted when you pulverize the garlic, can be abundant with either method. However, sometimes the recipe requires you to be in better control of the size or smash of the garlic to guarantee a desired effect.
I playfully recommend you reflect on your day to best evaluate which technique to use. If by day’s end, you are feeling good and are in the mood to wield a large knife in the kitchen, choose to freshly mince the garlic and create your own beautiful aromatic mash. Conversely, if your day was a real bummer or time is limited, choose the garlic press. There are few things more satisfying than a killer squeeze in five seconds flat.
Chef Adam Sacks is a chef instructor and sports dietitian at Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Denver, where he develops and teaches courses. He has also cooked for top-level athletes at two Olympic Games, most recently in South Korea.
Have a cooking-related question?
We have chefs who can help! Send your questions to email@example.com.