Sensei once asked the question "Does it matter how you cut garlic?" In brief, the answer is, "Yes, it does!" Chop or mince it too fine and you do lose some pungency and flavour through the loss of volatile oils during cooking, but I have found that adding salt does help to create more flavour in the recipe.

As I understand it, the main reason for adding salt to the garlic when dicing or pressing it, it to absorb the precious oils. This means that more of the oil ends up in the pot, and not on the chopping board, and not on your fingers.

Once you have peeled the garlic (in itself quite an art, see Footprints' writeup below), you will be ready to start the preparation. My best experiences have been when I have roughly chopped the cloves, then gently pressed them with a broad-bladed knife (I use Sabatier). Sprinkled with just enough salt to absorb the juices, the pulp is then gently mixed on the board then transferred to the pot. The juices mingle straight away, and the larger chunks marinate in the mix, slowly softening and releasing their goodness.

I have also tried adding a little more, finely-chopped, toward the end of the cooking process. The freshness of the new garlic has to be tasted to be believed. This way, I get the best of all worlds when cooking. Word of warning though - when adding garlic to salads, you may need to do a final chop before adding it, as many people find larger pieces of garlic too challenging!