Slice, Dice, Chop Or Julienne: Does The Cut Change The Flavor?
Flavor really does depend on how you slice it, experts tell us — though the reasons why are complicated. Paul Williams/Getty Images hide caption
Flavor really does depend on how you slice it, experts tell us — though the reasons why are complicated.Paul Williams/Getty Images
The food processor is, for me, hugely disappointing. Before owning one, I used to see them looking all shiny and powerful in the department store, and I'd fantasize about never chopping a vegetable by hand again. I failed to consider that cookbook authors have particular ideas about how each ingredient should be prepped. The food processor, no matter how many blades it may come with, often doesn't cut it.
Take this recipe for lettuce wraps with hoisin-peanut sauce. It's one of my go-to meals. To pull it off correctly, I'm instructed to mince the shallot, thinly slice the green onions, chop the cilantro, grate the ginger, and cut the cucumbers and carrots into matchsticks. Sheesh. I'd really rather just throw the ingredients in the food processor and move on. I've often wondered whether all this attention to the size and geometry of my produce cuts really matters.
To find out, I spoke with food experts about whether slicing, dicing, julienning, or any of the myriad cutting techniques affect flavor. The general consensus: Yes!
"We actually teach that right from the beginning — that cuts add different palatability," says Brendan Walsh, dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America.
But the reasons that a particular cut affects flavor are complicated, and sometimes mysterious even to restaurant critics, chefs and food scientists.
According to Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News and a cook and blogger for her own site, Cooks Without Borders, cutting is important because surface area can affect the flavor of vegetables.
"The cooking method is going to penetrate more finely cut vegetables more. You're going to get more of a reaction," she explains. She offers up okra as an example. "I cut them in half vertically and grill both sides, which gives them this wonderful charry flavor." She says the charred taste is enhanced by the increase in surface area created by the lengthwise cut. More finely cut vegetables will react more with other ingredients in a dish, like butter, salt or a marinade, she says.
But Pete Snaith, cooking and knife skills instructor and co-founder of Culinaria Cooking School in Vienna, Va., believes that the cut doesn't affect flavor so much as cooking time. "If you are going to add carrots to a dish, if you cut them smaller like a brunoise, which is 1/8 by 1/8 by 1/8 of an inch, and put them in at the end of the cooking process, they'll cook very quickly," he explains. Snaith also says that the cut affects texture, which some food experts believe affects flavor — or at least our perception of flavor.
"If you put a vegetable that is more rounded in your mouth, your mind is generally going to be thinking about something that has more of a succulence to it," says Walsh. "Something cut in squares is going to be a little bit more toothsome, with a jagged edge, and will give the impression of something rugged or tough. Your mind will think something is flavorful if it is smoother."
Bill Fuller, corporate chef for the Pittsburgh-based big Burrito Restaurant Group (bBRG), agrees. "Flavor is the taste of what is in your mouth, but it is also partly textural," he says. "If you slice a radish really thin, you just get the flavor without the snap pop crunch, which is really an important part of the radish."
Aroma also contributes to flavor, and Fuller believes different cuts can make certain fruits and vegetables smell differently. "With a tomato, if you slice it and spread the slices out on a plate, you're going to get a lot more of the tomato smell than if it's quartered and piled up," he says. "So you're getting a lot of tomato aroma when you eat. I think a wedge of tomato doesn't taste nearly as good as a slice of tomato."
Food scientists study exactly that phenomenon. "Every different type of produce is different in terms of the chemistry and how it responds to cutting or crushing," explains Charles Forney, a physiologist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada who studies how produce changes after it's harvested.
Forney says that as you cut a tomato, you break open cells that release an enzyme. This enzyme triggers a chemical reaction that produces much of the aroma we associate with freshly cut tomatoes. Forney refers to this aroma as the tomato's "green notes" and says that a similar reaction occurs in freshly cut grass. The more thinly you slice a tomato, the more enzymes you release, and the more of these green notes you get.
We also kick-start chemical processes when we cut broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The enzymes released when we slice these veggies start a reaction that produces compounds that contain sulfur. These sulfur compounds create the pungent, burning sensation you get when you eat some cabbages. The more you cut the veggie, the more compounds are produced.
Without enzymes, onions and garlic also wouldn't be nearly as flavorful. "If you cut an onion or garlic, you release an enzyme called alliinase that produces the typical pungency or onion or garlic aroma, which really isn't there when it's intact," explains Forney. "The enzymatic reaction forms the flavor — so the more finely it's cut, the more flavor that will be released."
So it seems that I really do need to follow each recipe's detailed demands for precisely cut produce. For many vegetables and fruits, the cut does make the flavor. Cuts affect cooking process, texture and aroma — and perhaps something even less tangible.
"We've gone beyond the point of where we think about food as just something that your taste buds pick up," explains Walsh. "When we talk about cuts, we think about how that ultimately is going to make dishes that are going to have appeal. Inside a kitchen, chefs will talk about a sexy quality to flavor or texture. That is something that cuts can do. They add that sexy quality."
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This ER-A540 Series spring assisted open folding knife from Elk Ridge offers easy one handed deployment. Once open, the blade locks securely into place with the use of its liner lock. This knife features a 3.5-inch, 3mm thick silver stainless steel blade with mirror finish and brown wood inlay handle with leather cord lanyard. Elk Ridge knives are one of the most leading and topmost manufacturers of knives. They offer a huge variety of... Elk Ridge hunting knives (241) Folding blades (111) Fixed blades (124) Knives set (20) Other knives (53) Toporki i Maczety Myśliwskie (23) MTech USA knives (9)
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The Giant List of 101 Culinary Terms Every Chef Knows
Culinary Terms: A-D
A la carte (adj.) - separately priced items from a menu, not as part of a set meal.
Al dente (adj.) - cooked so it's still tough when bitten, often referring to pasta
A la grecque (adj.) - served in the Greek style of cooking, with olive oil, lemon juice, and several seasonings, often referring to vegetables
A point (adj.) - cooking until the ideal degree of doneness, often referring to meat as medium rare
Acidulation (n.) - the process of making something acid or sour with lemon or lime juice
Aerate (v.) - the process when dry ingredients pass through a sifter and air is circulated through, changing the composition of the material, often referring to flour
Aspic (n.) - a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatine made from a meat stock or consommé
Au gratin (adj.) - sprinkled with breadcrumbs and cheese, or both, and browned
Au jus (adj.) - with its own juices from cooking, often referring to steak or other meat
Au poivre (adj.) - coated with loosely cracked peppercorns and then cooked, often referring to steak
Au sec (adj.) - the descriptor for a liquid which has been reduced until it is nearly dry, a process often used in sauce making
Bain Marie (n.) - a container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking, otherwise known as a "water bath" or "double boiler"
Barding (v.) - to cover a meat with a layer of fat, such as bacon, before cooking, effectively maintaining the moisture of the meat while it cooks to avoid overcooking
Baste (v.) - to pour juices or melted fat over meat or other food while cooking to keep it moist
Beurre blanc (n.) - a sauce made with butter, onions, and vinegar, usually served with seafood dishes
Bisque (n.) - a thick, creamy soup, with a base of strained broth (see coulis) of shellfish or game
Blanching (v.) - to plunge into boiling water, remove after moment, and then plunge into iced water to halt the cooking process, usually referring to vegetable or fruit
Braising (v.) - a combination-cooking method that first sears the food at high temperature, then finished it in a covered pot at low temperature while sitting in some amount of liquid
Brining (v.) - the process of soaking meat in a brine, or heavily salted water, before cooking, similar to marination
Chiffonade (n.) - shredded or finely cut vegetables and herbs, usually used as a garnish for soup
Concasse (n.) - to roughly chop raw or cooked food by peeling, seeding, and chopping to make it ready to be served or combined with other ingredients, usually referring to tomatoes
Consommé (n.) - a type of clear soup made from richly flavored stock that has been clarified, a process of using egg whites to remove fat
Confit (n.) - meat cooked slowly in its own fat, usually referring to duck
Coring (v.) - to remove the central section of some fruits, which contain seeds and tougher material that is not usually eaten
Coulis (n.) - a thick sauce made with fruit or vegetable puree, used as a base or garnish
Croquette (n.) - a small round roll of minced meat, fish, or vegetable coated with egg and breadcrumbs
Deglaze (v.) - to remove and dissolve the browned food residue, or "glaze", from a pan to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies
Degrease (v.) - to remove the fat from the surface of a hot liquid such as a sauce, soup, or stew, also known as defatting or fat trimming
Dredging (v.) - to coat wet or moist foods with a dry ingredient before cooking to provide an even coating
Dress (v.) - to put oil, vinegar, salt, or other toppings on a salad or other food
Being Safe in the Kitchen
Do you like putting on an apron and making a delicious snack for your family? How about helping out at the stove, stirring and sniffing the sweet smells? Or making cookies by cutting out your favorite shapes?
Although making food is fun, it's important to know how to be safe. This means knowing when to get the help of an adult assistant, how to keep things clean, and how to use the kitchen safely. Let's get cookin'!
Your Adult Assistant
If you've ever seen a cooking show on TV, you know that all the best chefs have an assistant to help them out. If you're a kid, an adult assistant can come in handy to make cooking easier and keep you safe.
Before beginning any recipe, get an adult's permission to work in the kitchen. If your recipe uses knives, the stove, or other kitchen appliances, you must have some adult help. Some things that adults use in the kitchen may seem simple to operate, but once you use them yourself, you might be surprised by how difficult they actually are. By having your assistant around, you can avoid surprises, stay safe, and have fun while you cook.
What Should You Wear?
Wearing an apron will keep your clothes clean. If you don't have an apron, an old shirt will do. But don't wear anything that's big and loose. Baggy sleeves or clothes could catch fire or get caught in mixer beaters or other equipment.
Keep Germs Out of Your Food
A big part of safe cooking is keeping the chef and the kitchen clean. The idea is to keep germs, which can make you sick, out of your food. Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately before you begin any recipe. This is especially important for recipes that involve touching the food directly, like kneading dough or mixing ingredients with your hands.
Also be sure to wash your hands before and after handling raw meat, poultry, egg, and fish products because these foods can contain bacteria. You don't want that bacteria getting on your hands because then they could end up in your mouth — yuck!
You also can fight germs by keeping your working surfaces (like countertops and cutting boards) clean and dry. Wash them with soap and warm water after you're done cooking.
Leftovers are great, but you don't want germs in them either. Ask your adult assistant for help in storing any leftovers. Food may be refrigerated or frozen to keep it fresh. Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3 to 4 days. Frozen leftovers are safe but lose flavor when stored longer than 3 or 4 months.
Using the Kitchen Safely
You have your ingredients neatly lined up, your hands washed, and your measuring spoons out. But before you start, it's a good idea to learn a few rules of the kitchen. It's easy to get injured in the kitchen if you're not careful, and a cut or burn will put an end to your fun cooking session.
Always ask your adult assistant if you can use blenders, food processors, knives, or other sharp kitchen tools. If you're allowed to use a knife, point the blade away from yourself and keep your fingers away from the blade when you're cutting. Give the job your full attention — no looking at the TV for a quick second or yelling to your sister. Your adult assistant should be nearby to keep an eye on what you're doing.
The same goes for the stove or oven: Get permission first and be sure your adult assistant is nearby to watch you.
Here are some ways to keep from getting burned:
- Use potholders or oven mitts (no dish towels) when handling hot pots, pans, or baking trays.
- Turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove so you won't knock them over by accident.
- Get help from an adult when using a gas stove. Never try to relight the pilot light on a gas stove. Only an adult should do this.
- Use only microwave-safe cookware in the microwave — never tinfoil or anything metal. If you're not sure if something is safe for use in the microwave, ask an adult first.
Did you know there are special schools where grownups go to learn how to cook? That's because cooking is an art and it takes time and practice to learn how to do it.
If you're just starting out, it can take a while before you learn how to crack an egg or cook the pasta until it's just right. You'll figure it out — with a little help from your adult assistant!
Your knives worksheet answers know
1 Basic Knife Skills Student Handout vikingrange.com 1 Viking Range Corporation
2 Basic Knife Skills - Introduction No other kitchen tool is more important than the knife. The only piece of "equipment" more basic to cooking is the human hand. Good quality knives will make your work easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable; furthermore, good knives, when properly cared for, will last a lifetime. Knives should be selected, sharpened, cleaned and handled with great care and respect. Safety Keep your blades sharp! Only cut on appropriate surfaces, never on metal, glass, or hard stone such as marble or granite. Never attempt to catch a falling knife. Use the right knife for the task at hand. Never use a knife for any purpose other than what it was intended e.g., never use your knife to open a can or pry something loose. Do not leave your knives in a sink full of water. Pass a knife by its handle. Always cut away from yourself; never cut towards yourself. Learn and use the proper grip for your knife. Keep fingers on guiding hand curled. When walking with a knife, hold it closely to your side with the tip-end down and the blade facing away from you. Knife Nomenclature Tip or Point The tip end of the blade may vary in shape, depending on the type and style of the knife. The most common shapes are a point or a rounded end. Back or Spine The thicker, unsharpened edge of the blade. Cutting Edge The sharpened edge of the blade. The edge may be one of several types: plain, with a cross section revealing a gentle taper to a long or abrupt V-shape; hollowground with a distinct concave area running down the length of each blade side; granton, with elongated ovals ground into the flat side of the blade perpendicularly to the cutting edge and staggered alternately on each blade side; and serrated edges, which end as a series of tiny, V-shaped teeth. Heel The rear edge of the blade that extends below the bottom line of the handle. Bolster or Shoulder The thick band of steel on forged blades that runs perpendicular across the blade from the heel to the spine. Tang The unsharpened rear extension of the blade that extends into the handle. Tangs may be full, partial or rattail. (See Knife Selection / Construction for definitions) Handle The handgrip that is typically covered with metal, plastic, wood or bone applied in either one or two pieces. Occasionally, it is simply an extension of the blade steel, like those on some Asian-style knives and Chinese cleavers. It more often appears as a stylized rectangle, tube, bulb or knob with a smooth, ribbed, or textured finish. Rivets The metal studs that attach the handle to the tang of the knife. Butt The rear end of the handle. vikingrange.com 2 Viking Range Corporation
3 Anatomy of a Knife TIP or POINT BACK or SPINE CUTTING EDGE HEEL BOLSTER or SHOULDER HANDLE RIVETS BUTT TANG (not shown) Runs from the bolster to the butt inside the handle vikingrange.com 3 Viking Range Corporation
4 Knife Selection When selecting a knife, consider the composition, construction, comfort, and the job for which the knife will be used. Composition What is the blade made of? Carbon Steel takes and holds the sharpest edge; however it discolors, pits easily, and can interact with acidic foods. Stainless Steel stays clean and is non-reactive; this material is so hard that it is very difficult to sharpen and the blade dulls easily. High-Carbon Stainless offers the best of both materials; it has enough carbon steel to take and hold a sharp edge plus all the virtues of stainless. It is considered by many to be the best overall choice. Construction How is the knife made? Stamped Blades Created by feeding long, fairly thin sheets of steel through a press that stamps out the blades. They are then tempered (heated and cooled repeatedly) to strengthen the steel, sharpened and finished. Because machines perform most of the work, these blades tend to be less expensive. They also tend to be lighter in weight than a fully forged blade. A stamped blade is thin with even thickness from handle to tip. Forged Blades Created by heating a piece of steel to above 2,000 F, then placing it into a mold and hammering to refine its shape. Excess metal is ground away, then the blade is tempered, sharpened and finished, a process that can take as many as 100 steps. A forged blade is thinner at the tip of the blade and thicker at the handle with a telltale band of steel known as the bolster or shoulder. These blades tend to be heavier than stamped blades. Because of the high craftsmanship and the labor-intensive construction, these knives tend to be more expensive and are highly regarded by many as superior to stamped blades. Full Tang The unsharpened rear extension of the blade onto which the handle is attached is known as the tang. A full tang runs the entire length of the handle with a shape to match. Full tang knives tend to be heavier and more evenly balanced than those with lesser tangs. Half or Three-Quarter Tang While shaped like the knife, the tang extends only partially into the handle. Rattail Tang Runs like a rod down the length of the handle. Types of Knives It s important to use the right knife for the right job. There are many specialized knives, but the majority of daily kitchen tasks may be accomplished with a few good, basic knives. Must-Haves: Chef s Knife (also called French or Cook s Knife) Paring Knife Serrated Knife Nice-to Haves: Santoku or hollow-ground chef s knife Utility Knife, 6-inch Bird s Beak or Tourné Knife Slicing/Carving Knife, 12-inch Boning Knife Flexible Boning Knife (for chicken or fish fillets or a rigid one for meat) Cleaver vikingrange.com 4 Viking Range Corporation
5 Chef s Knife (French Knife or Cook s Knife): Typically 8 to14-inches long, this allpurpose knife used for chopping, slicing and mincing is the workhorse of the kitchen. The tapered blade curves up at the tip to facilitate its ability to be used with a rocking motion for chopping and mincing. These knifes are purposely fairly heavy, as their weight assists with chopping and mincing tasks. Hollow-ground Chef s Knife: Typically 8-inches in length, this knife combines the classic tapered blade of the chef s knife with the hollow-ground blade design of the santoku and the meat slicer. Considered by many to be the best of both worlds, the shape of the blade facilitates its ability to be used with a rocking motion for chopping and mincing, while the hollow-ground feature reduces drag when cutting and slicing delicate fish, meats, fruits or vegetables Santoku: Compared with a classic chef s knife, the santoku is typically shorter and has a thinner blade, a stubbier tip, and a straighter edge. It is thought to have evolved from the narrow, rectangular Japanese vegetable knife and may be called an Asian chef s knife. It may have a smooth or a granton blade (hollow-ground with oval recesses along the blade). The thinness of the blade makes it an excellent choice for delicate or precise knife work, most notably for slicing. Because it does not have as curved a tip as the French or chef s knife, it does not rock as easily for standard chopping and mincing. Utility Knife: Typically 5 to 7-inches long, it is a smaller, lighter version of the chef s knife. It may be used as a chef s knife on smaller items or as a paring knife on larger items. Paring Knife: Typically 3 to 4-inches long, a paring knife looks very much like a chef s knife, but is considerably smaller. Structurally, because the parer is not an impact tool, the curve of a paring knife blade is usually not as pronounced as that of most chef s knives. Instead, a paring knife works more as an extension of your hand and is used for paring and trimming fruits and vegetables. Bird s Beak or Tourné: Typically 2 to 4-inches long, this small knife is similar to a paring knife, but with a pronounced forward curve in the blade at the tip. Used to peel vegetables and carve rounded surfaces on vegetables (such as tourné vegetables). Boning Knife: Approximately 6-inches long, its stiff, thin blade is used to separate raw meat from the bone. It typically has a pronounced heel that helps to stop the knife at the handle when it is thrust into firm meat. Fillet Knife: Approximately 6-inches long with a flexible blade, it is used for filleting fowl and fish. Its flexibility allows it to move smoothly over delicate bones that would be cut by a firm boning knife. Slicer or Carving Knife: Typically 10 to 16-inches long, it is used for slicing cooked meats. The long blade may be wide or narrow, flexible or rigid, have a rounded or pointed tip, and have a smooth or modulated surface. The heavier, hard-bladed slicers are designed to cut broader slices through hot, softer meats. If the surface of the meat is firm and relatively dry (as in cold roast or a ham), the meat is less resistant, and the thinner, narrower blades are suitable. Cleaver: Comes in various sizes with a rectangular blade, it is usually heavy and is traditionally used for chopping through bones and large pieces of meat. vikingrange.com 5 Viking Range Corporation
6 Serrated Knife: Typically 8 to 12-inches long, it is also referred to as a bread knife, as the serrated blade is perfect for cutting breads, pastries, tomatoes or other soft foods. It is also an excellent choice for large, very hard vegetables such as butternut squash. The combination of the serrated teeth used with a sawing motion allows you to break through the hard skin without as much pressure or force as would be required with a non-serrated blade, and consequently is much safer. Use and Care of Cutlery Always clean your knife thoroughly after each use so that it will not become a site for food cross-contamination. It is not recommended to put your knives in the dishwasher. Wash them carefully by hand with warm soapy water, then dry them and put them away. Store your knives properly. If they are to be stored in a drawer, they should be sheathed to protect their edge and to reduce the danger of being cut by the exposed blade. Alternatively, knives may be stored on a magnetic knife rack (make sure the magnets are strong enough to hold your heaviest knives), in a knife block or knife roll. Be sure to always store knives clean and to their keep storage compartments clean. Do not hold knives in a flame or dip them into a pot of hot food. Do not use knives to pry up jar lids or for any other unintended uses. Use the right knife for the task; do not use a lightweight tool for a heavy-duty task. Sharpening Knives A sharp knife is a safe knife, as well as a pleasure to use. There are basically two types of sharpeners; those that straighten or realign the edge and those that grind and reshape or set the edge. If you were to look at a knife under a microscope, you would see that it is made up of thousands of small cutting teeth. Through use, these teeth become misaligned. Using a steel will effectively realign these teeth. After prolonged use, however, the edge will need to be reground. This requires shaving small bits of metal from the edge to reshape it. The reshaping requires that the blade be ground at very precise angles; the most durable edges are created using two or three angles in a single edge. You may take your knife to a professional to have the edge reground, or you may use a stone to sharpen it yourself. Achieving perfect angles using a stone requires a great deal of practice and expertise. Another option is to use an electric knife sharpener that has preset angles to allow you to sharpen and hone the knife at the correct angle. These require much less skill than using a stone and are very reliable when used according to the manufacturer s instructions. Additionally, unlike a stone, which produces a single-angled edge, electric sharpeners typically produce strong, durable two and three-angle edges, so the knife remains sharper for a longer period of time. vikingrange.com 6 Viking Range Corporation
7 Using a Sharpening Stone: A knife blade is sharpened by passing its edge over a rectangular abrasive stone. The grit (the degree of the coarseness or fineness of the stone) wears away the blade's edge producing a sharp cutting edge. The angle of the knife to the stone must be very precise to produce a proper edge. Most stones may be used either dry or moistened with water or oil. If you choose to wet the stone, always use the same type of liquid (either oil or water) to moisten it. If you use oil, it should be mineral oil, not a cooking oil such as vegetable, olive, or canola oil. Before using a stone, make sure the stone is secure. Place the stone on a dampened cloth to stabilize it. Hold the blade at a 20 degree angle to the surface of the stone and draw the full length of the blade across the stone. Apply light even pressure. Repeat these strokes the same number of times on each side of the blade. Wipe the blade free of any particles before changing to a different degree of stone or before honing on a steel. Using an Electric Sharpener: Most electric sharpeners have several slots, each of which is designed to grind the knife edge at a different angle. In the first stage of grinding, sometimes called pre-sharpening, the knife is placed in a slot that removes the dull edge and creates the first bevel, or angle, of the two that together make up the knife s edge. This first angle (called the relief angle) is typically around fifteen degrees to the face of the blade. The knife is then moved to a different slot, which makes a slightly more sloped bevel (the sharpening angle) that comes to the point of the edge. The result is a double-beveled edge, which is very strong, very durable, and will resist dulling. Some sharpeners cut a third bevel for an even stronger edge. Using a Sharpening Steel: A steel, a long round or oval rod with a handle, must be harder than the material from which the knife is made. Consult your knife manufacturer for recommendations on an appropriate model for your knives. A steel should be used both immediately after sharpening the blade on a stone and also between sharpenings to maintain the edge. Steels help the blade maintain proper alignment. When using a steel maintain the same 20 degree angle as used on the stone. You may use a standard rod-type steel or one of the many pre-set angle devices available on the market today. These devices typically have two rods set in a V-shape at precise angles that allow you to draw the blade through the V, honing both sides of the blade at once. Be sure to draw the entire length of the blade along the entire length of the steel, and use an equal number of strokes on each side of the blade. vikingrange.com 7 Viking Range Corporation
8 Selecting a Cutting Board The natural partner to any knife is the cutting board. The two most important features of a cutting board are size and the material from which they are made. A board should be large enough to provide ample space for both cutting and pushing aside cut foods and waste. Cutting boards are made from many different materials, including wood (maple and bamboo), polyethylene (plastic), acrylic, glass and Corian. Each of these materials has different characteristics. Hard acrylic, glass, and Corian boards absorb none of the shock of the knife strike. These very hard boards result in knives becoming dull more quickly. Plastic (polyethylene) and wood are softer and therefore cushion the knife s blow, making for a better controlled, more pleasant cutting experience as well as retaining the sharpness of your knife longer. Of these choices, plastic is harder than wood, and bamboo is 16% harder than maple. While scientific studies show that wood boards harbor fewer bacteria than plastic boards, the key to safe handling is keeping whatever type board you use clean. Researchers and government officials recommend washing every board well after each use, in the dishwasher, if possible, or by hand with hot soapy water, and then sanitizing with a light bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water). Plastic boards may be put in the dishwasher, but should be positioned away from the heating element to prevent warping. Maple and bamboo boards must be hand-washed and dried, as well as oiled periodically with food grade mineral oil, but are aesthetically more pleasing than plastic. Many experts recommend having several boards, each dedicated to specific tasks; one for raw poultry, one for all other raw proteins, and one for fruits and vegetables. Another option is to use flexible plastic cutting sheets as overlays on your regular board. Proper Hand Position for Using a Chef s Knife The proper way to hold a chef s knife is to grasp the blade firmly between the pad of your thumb and the knuckle of your index finger just in front of the bolster, curling your remaining fingers around the bottom of the handle. Resist the temptation to extend your index finger along the spine of your knife, because that method results in a lack of control of the angle you are working with. The hand not holding the knife is known as the guide hand; it s crucial to be aware of the position of your guide hand. The fingertips should be tucked under and resting lightly on the cutting board, with the knuckles slightly forward. Always keep your thumb tucked behind the gently curled fingers of your guide hand. This will prevent not only countless injuries, but also facilitate the use of your knuckles to guide the edge of your knife to its proper position for the next cut. For safety, you may wish to use a finger guard, which is a stainless steel shield that fits over the fingers of the guiding hand. The interior of the shield has a welded ring that adjusts to the chef's middle finger. The tip of the shield holds the food to be sliced. vikingrange.com 8 Viking Range Corporation
9 Basic Knife Cuts Coarse Chopping: Usually used for items that will not be part of the finished dish; e.g., mirepoix (a mixture of onions, celery, and carrots used to flavor stock). Mincing: A relatively even, very fine cut; especially appropriate for herbs and flavoring agents such as garlic and shallots. Long Rectangular Cuts: Julienne: A long rectangular cut 1/16 x 1/16 x 1 to 2-inches in length. Batonnet: A ¼ x ¼ x 1 to 2-inches in length. Cube Cuts: Regular Brunoise [broo-nwahz]: A ⅛ x ⅛ x ⅛-inch cut. Small Dice: A ¼ x ¼ x ¼-inch cut. Medium Dice: A ⅓ x ⅓ x ⅓-inch cut. Large Dice: A ¾ x ¾ x ¾-inch cut. Other Cuts: Rondelle: A simple cut used for cylindrical vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips, which produces a round disk. May be varied by cutting on the bias (diagonal). Oblique or Roll Cut: Used primarily on cylindrical vegetables. The peeled vegetable is cut on the diagonal then rolled 180 degrees (a half turn) and cut through on the same diagonal. Chiffonade: Also known as a ribbon cut, it is used to efficiently cut leafy vegetables and herbs into finely sliced strips or ribbons. vikingrange.com 9 Viking Range Corporation
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