Here, I am not writing about the history of garlic and its wonderful therapeutic properties; if you want this stuff there is plenty of information on internet. What matters to us, when using garlic as cooking ingredients, is to know the way to use it so, here are some tips.
Take the galic clove, remove the paper skin with a small knife and cut the garlic clove lengthways (the above photograph shows this sequence, left to right). After, you can crush the clove, you can chop it or cut it into thin slices depending on the recipe you are making. As a general rule, when preparing a sauté (in Italy we say “soffritto”), the more garlic surface is in contact with the oil, the more flavour will be released into the oil, hence thin slices or chopped garlic will release more flavour than a whole clove.
When using garlic in a sauté, remember not to go more than the “golden” colour stage. Never never dark brown!
Note: garlic has a strong and persistent aroma and those who recommend discarding the central shoot (no matter if it is green or white), do so because they are probably convinced that discarding the shoot will reduce the effects of the garlic on the breath. However, this theory, so far, has not been scientifically proven, so it is up to you what to do with the shoot (I usually discard it).
When preparing pasta dishes or salads and you want a subtle garlic aroma in the background, cut the clove of garlic lengthways and rub the live side around the inside of the pasta or salad bowl. The garlic aroma will give a very gentle finish to the dish without disturbing the most sensitive stomachs!