When you start chopping garlic or other vegetables that get tacky when sliced, a little salt on your cutting board is all it takes to keep it from sticking to your knife while you dice. Keeping the garlic on the cutting board also means a more even dice, and some cooks will tell you the salt helps extract the oils from the garlic as well.
Photo by Sage Tyrtle.
If you're going for a really fine dice or a garlic paste, this tip is especially useful because you'll need to brush the garlic on your cutting board with the sides of your knife to get that really flat, smooth paste. The type of salt doesn't matter much either, but kosher or sea salt probably work best -- large rock or flake salt may be more trouble than its worth.
This kitchen trick will doubtlessly be old hat to those of you who chop garlic on a regular basis, but I was surprised this weekend when I stumbled on someone who had never heard this tip. Some people swear by a little olive oil, but I'm not sure how well chopping oily garlic works. What do you think? Is this how you learnt to chop garlic, or is it news to you? Let us know in the comments below.