If there’s one item I use almost daily in the kitchen, it’s my mortar and pestle. I didn’t even know what it was for when I first got it and it sat in my cupboard collecting dust until I tried to make salad dressing. Once I mashed that garlic with salt, that was my AHA! moment – so that’s what a mortar and pestle is used for!
While a mortar and pestle does have other uses – crushing or grinding spices – 99% of the time I use it for making a really nice and smooth garlic-y base.
Kitchen Tip: How to Use a Mortar and Pestle
This couldn’t be easier to do and if you have kids, they’ll love helping with this activity.
- Take 1 or 2 garlic cloves and peel them.
- Place garlic cloves in mortar and pestle.
- Add 1-teaspoon of kosher salt. (I like the kosher salt by Morton.)
- Mash garlic and sea salt together until you have a smooth paste. This takes about 1-2 minutes.
- Scoop out paste with a spoon to add to recipe.
Cleaning and maintenance…
There’s very little cleaning and maintenance required. (It’s like cooking with cast iron – another of my favorites in the kitchen!) Do a thorough job of scooping the paste out with a spoon and store the mortar and pestle in your cupboard. If you really want to clean it, just a little water and sponge, then dry.
This mashed garlic-y paste is the base for making salad dressings and marinades. Mix it with butter that’s room temperature and you’ve got garlic bread in your future. The possibilities are endless. You may also find that you don’t need to add additional salt to your cooking after adding this initial teaspoon. The flavor of the garlic and salt mixed together is heavenly. Plus, you can get a little aggression out while mashing.
While you can spend a lot of money on a mortar and pestle, I recently purchased a marble one for a friend at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was a very reasonable price.
Do you use a mortar and pestle? Does it help get your kitchen aggravation out?
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