Avoid the sticky garlic fingers that result from peeling garlic the old fashioned way (literally peeling the skin away with your fingers) by putting your chef’s knife to good use.
First, place a single garlic clove on your cutting board with one FLAT SIDE DOWN. (This is important because you don’t want the clove to roll away from you.)
Next, place the blade of your knife on top of the clove, making sure the blade of your knife is completely flat and parallel to the cutting board. (If you’ve taken one of my cooking classes you’ve no doubt heard my “Make sure the blade of the knife is flat. Make sure the blade of the knife is flat and then make sure the blade of the knife is flat” mantra.
Once you’re sure the blade of the knife is flat (detecting a theme here?), take advantage of this opportunity to release any pent-up aggression or stress you might be experiencing. Bring your fist down hard onto the flattened knife blade. (And now we see the importance of making sure the blade of the knife is flat, right?)
The force of your blow will break open the clove, separating it from the skin. You should be able to slide the skin right off. It will likely take a time or two for you to figure out the appropriate amount of pressure to put on the clove. You want to hit it hard enough to separate the skin, but your recipe may not call for smashed garlic, so you’ll still need it to maintain some semblance of its shape so you can chop, mince or slice it.
The most important thing to remember here is — you guessed it — MAKE SURE THE BLADE OF THE KNIFE IS FLAT! And there you have it, Percussive Cooking 101.