You must carefully consider how you cut an ingredient. Size and shape play an important role in long it will take to break down, how it’s flavour will be released, or how it’s texture will be perceived. Take the example of an onion: minced very finely and sweated down for a risotto, it’s role here is to provide an underlying sweet, savoury component to your finished dish. The texture of which is unrecognizable as onion because of how the small pieces of onion are allowed to break down into part of the dish. If you had to replace this preparation with fairly thick slices of onion it would take much longer for them to break down to that same point leaving you with mouthfuls punctuated with large pieces of sweet, tender onion. A much more noticeable and obvious experience of onion. By no means any worse or better than the original, but an entirely different outcome created by the size which the ingredient is prepared.
This French word merely refers to long matchstick sized cuts of vegetables, often unanimous with shredding or slicing fruit and vegetables thinly. Depending on the vegetable the technique can vary somewhat. Take a carrot for example. Begin by trimming and peeling the vegetable and cutting thin slices of your desired length of julienne.
This refers to cutting small cubes of the vegetable you are preparing. This is achieved by taking the julienne from the previous step and making perpendicular cuts across the strips with the same spacing between cuts as before.
Fundamentally the same as a small dice but on a much finer scale. Garlic is often minced to be able to cook and add it’s flavour quickly to a dish. Same with herbs, the finer they are chopped the more they will blend in to the background of your dish when added.
Using garlic as an example, begin by peeling it and removing the small root end.
Lay it flat on your board and similar to before begin by making incisions from the root end to the top of the clove equally distanced from one another.
Continue by making horizontal cuts across the clove.
Finally, finish by chopping the garlic from the top of the clove to the root end creating your finished mince. If you want it even finer continue to chop through it until the desired size is reached.
Slicing an onion
Because of how the layers of an onion provide natural separation, creating individual slices of onion is a simple process. Begin by peeling the onion and removing the root end with a sharp knife. Once peeled, lay the onion flat on the chopping board and use your guiding hand to secure it in place. Begin by making slicing motions.
Dicing an onion
Begin by peeling the onion and leaving the root end in-tact. This will hold the onion together as you slice through it. Cut the onion in half and lay flat on the board. Begin by holding the onion firmly with your guiding hand and using the tip of your knife to begin making cuts from just in front of the root end to the opposite end of the onion. The spacing in between your cuts will determine the size of your dice.
Place the tips of your fingers of your guiding hand onto the top of the onion and make horizontal cuts through the cross section of the onion, aiming for the same space between cuts which you used for the first step.
For the finished dice make cuts from the top of the onion towards the root end perpendicular to the first set of cuts made. Once again, aiming to keep the same spacing between knife cuts.
This knife cut refers to slicing herbs and leafy green vegetables into long thin strips. Begin by picking and stacking the leaves which are to be cut on top of each other with the largest leaf at the bottom. Carefully roll them up tightly and hold in place with your guiding hand.
Slice perpendicularly to the roll without exhorting much force, the leafy green will typically be quite delicate and excessive force or unnecessary chopping will bruise the leaves and damage the colour and quality of the chiffonade.