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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: http://www.theepicentre.com/tip/smash...

            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.

            1. One thing I find that my ceramic knife does really well is shave things like garlic and shallots really thin. I don't use it much other than for that purpose actually.

              I love all things lentils, could you post a paraphrase of that recipe on the home cooking board by any chance?

              1. http://gasparykitchenproducts.stores....

                It's got 3 parts: the metal cutter, the plastic sleeve which holds the cloves, and the guard that pushes the cloves down .

                I've had one of these for years -- fast, easy to clean, relatively little waste, and no bloody knuckles/finagers. I liked it so much it was that year's stocking stuffer to all the in-law cooks because it was soooooo inexpensive!

                1. I slice lots of garlic thinly and dehydrate it to make garlic powder for a friend. (He supplies the garlic. ) To slice the garlic I use a Kyocera Adjustable Mandolin Slicer. I got mine at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-Adjusta...

                  Yes you have to be careful, lest you also thinly slice your fingers, I have used mine for the past 2 garlic seasons with only I minor mishap.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: al b. darned

                    I have the super thin double-edged Kyocera, which is wonderful for super thin onions, garlic, whatever. Because it's double-edged, it works twice as quick - it slices both up and down. But it's not adjustable. So the adjustable one is on my wish list. I have to say that it is much more convenient than my mandolin ever was - quicker to use and wash and easier to store. Of course, it can't do any special cuts (eg- julienne), but there are separate ones for each of these cuts if you need them.

                  2. Mandolines can be dangerous, but more than that -- they are intended for larger pieces of food. Garlic cloves are just going to be too small. I occasionally use a mandoline carefully, and I like it for slicing potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers etc. when uniform appearance is the goal. It seems that most injuries happen when the user cuts too closely without a guard, or forces a hard item through the slicer -- such as a sweet potato. Even if you use a mandoline with a guard, like my Matfer, the size of a garlic clove makes using this gadget impractical. For example, when slicing waffle cut potatoes, the size of the stuff that gets stuck in the feeder and blade, (which gets tossed out), is sometimes bigger than a clove of garlic. Go with the truffle slicer if you must, but I second the recommendation of using a small, sharp paring knife. If you happen to have a truffle slicer, that is one thing -- but I wouldn't buy one just for slicing garlic.

                    1. I own 2 mandolines, a Benriner and an old junky one which is handy sometimes because of its extra width. But unless I had a bloody self destructive urge, I definitely would not use a mandoline for slicing garlic or anything else that small. A sharp knife is the right tool. And slicing 5 cloves of garlic should only require a couple minutes.

                      1. I have two mandolins but use a truffle/chocolate shaver for slicing garlic and shaving peels off citrus. It really works great and is razor sharp.. If you are a clutz-use a Rapala cut-proof glove to protect your fingers.

                        1. i use garlic quite a bit, but never considered buying a slicing gadget specifically for that purpose. my paring knife slices very finely, and is safer, imo, than running the garlic down a blade slicer. and using a paring knife is easier than wearing gloves and cleaning the slicing device, too!

                          1. I just did a search for you on Amazon. I didn't know there were so many products to slice and process garlic. Even found a garlic mandolin. That was an interesting article on the properties of different forms of garlic. I didn't know there was a difference and I was running all my garlic through the press which doesn't hold the flavor during cooking. I'm going to look into some of these myself

                            Here you go---knock yourself out ;-)...


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: blondelle

                              Wow! Thanks for all the replies! I posted, got a few good suggestions and then forgot all about the post until now. I'm at my folks' house now, around the corner from Zabars so I'll see what they have today in the way of truffle slicers and garlic-only mandolines. It's true that slicing a few cloves of garlic takes only a few minutes... the thing is the mindset that this is a "set it and forget it" type meal. Like, I'll spend 4 hours at the stove on a vindaloo with every authentic ingredient but when I make pesto I use dried basil and a food processor. So the dal recipe I treat as a fast meal, even though with just a little care it could be tastier and not much slower. The recipe (I don't have it in front of me now) is something like 1 C Masoor dal (the little red lentils that cook real fast), 5C water, maybe 1/2tsp of turmeric which you boil until soft, then you heat some ghee or oil, like 1/4C in a pan and throw in the slivered garlic. Fry for a minute or so to flavor the ghee then dump it into the dal. Simple and delicious. The garlic butter itself is delicious, but it's also nice to bite into a sliver in your dal, so only having a few chunks would reduce that pleasure.