Photo: Lynn Andriani

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2. Cook the garlic for less time.
Raw garlic has an unpleasant bite, so unless you're tempering it with acid (such as with vinegar or lemon juice in a salad dressing) it has to be cooked first—but unlike with onions, less is more. Usually 30 seconds in a bit of oil is all you need for the garlic to turn mellow and to release that scintillating aroma; a minute (if the oil is still heating up), tops. We've found medium heat is best; low heat isn't enough for the garlic to release its flavor into the oil you're cooking it in (the oil's garlicky taste will then permeate the dish), but high heat burns it too quickly.