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Nov 30, 2008 12:51 PM

Oaf needs mandoline for thin-sliced garlic only

Hiya! I'm absent-minded and clumsy and like to take dangerous and foolhardy shortcuts. But I have a recipe by Julie Sahni which I love (lentils in garlic butter) which calls for 5 thinly sliced garlic cloves (to be fried in ghee). I figured a mandolin would be perfect, but then I started reading about bloody knuckles and fingers. I could use a mandolin for other purposes, but that would be the primary reason. Any suggestions for cheap, safe and effective?

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  1. Mandolines are dangerous! Even more so with something as small as garlic. Far better to get a small carbon steel knife kept sharper than s^&t for perfect thin garlic slices every time.

    1 Reply
    1. If you can find a sharp one, a truffle slicer does the job nicely.

      Other than that, it's Goodfellas' style with a razor blade.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ndelson

        I second the truffle slicer. It's nice and small, so it's easy to handle. I use mine for garlic all the time. They aren't very expensive and mine is nice and flat so it's easy to store. I purchased mine at Williams Sonoma.

        1. re: Sunday Cook

          Yes, that's what I use when I want very thinly sliced garlic. I still don't have a mandoline.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I'll 4th the truffle slicer...

            It was in trying to find a practical way to emulate Pauli's (from Good Fellas) garlic slicing that I happened upon its use. I like the adjustability of it, right down to a meltingly thin, transparent slice.

            However it is by no means "safe". I've cut myself on its bare blade quite a few times on it, no doubt whenever my mind wandered off.

            Recommended for the purpose, but caveat emptor.

            (I haven't used it myself but the Microplane garlic slicer looks to be both safe and efficient, athough not adjustable. I'd personally go for the versatility of the truffle slicer over what might be a single-purpose gadget, but it is indeed much safer...)

            1. re: cgfan

              Yes - it's useful for paper thin - I can't cut that thin with a knife. Used my truffle shaver to shave bottarga last night.

        1. re: lanersg

          We have one of these and it works well. Saw them for $10 at Marshall's over the weekend.

        2. You could try one of these, but I had something similar and it was not really very good:

          I'm sure the lentils would be fine with garlic crushed in a press.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robin Joy

            garlic pressed is much stronger than sliced garlic, due to the level of destruction of the cell walls. apparently, the level of cell wall destruction not only affects pungency, but also affects the longevity of the flavoring capacity.

            this is a quite informative article on the different effects:

            sahni's recipe will be fine even if you just slice the cloves in thirds, just add an extra clove if you love "garlicky"....

            i use sliced garlic (just use a paring knife) in my italian sauces (and other garlic-infused foods) whereas i used to use crushed garlic. i learned this from mario, as it allows one to fish the garlic out -- which is impossible with the crushed garlic. it is also a more subtle flavor. if i want super-garlicky, like for my microwave tomatoes (recipe inaccessible right now on chowhound), i will mince the garlic finely, or crush with my trusty zyliss press.

            1. re: alkapal

              try slicing the cloves on an angle, like a long-diagonal -- it should be easier to handle the clove while slicing, imo. or try slicing the clove lengthwise in half. then you have two flat sides to keep the clove stable on the cutting board.

          2. Use a microtome if you really need super thin slices.
            Or a safety glove with a Benriner works fine too, except you'll waste a lot of garlic, proportionately.