Friday, March 19, 2010
Cutting is a generic term for all of the different methods of using your knife to prepare you meats and vegetables. One of the most important things to remember about cutting is to ensure that all of your cuts are uniform in size so that your foods will cook evenly.
Chopping- to chop means to cut into irregular sizes, not really concerning ourselves with the uniformity of the final product. Good for stocks and sauces, when you want a bite in your final product like stews, foods that are going to be broken down or processed in a food processor or some other means of breaking down your chopped product.
Slicing refers to cutting a product thinly whether it is roast beef, ham, an onion or an apple.
Dicing- to dice means to cut the food in cubes that are all the same size, whether it is a meat or a vegetable
Julienne and Chiffonade- In the traditional sense, julienne and chiffonade mean to slice thinly in long (matchstick) cuts. The difference between the two is that if you hear the term chiffonade it is referring to herbs and spices, whereas julienne refers to everything else.
Parallel Cutting is an efficient method for dicing things like carrots and onions. The idea of parallel cutting is to ensure the uniformity of your food product whether meat or vegetable, by holding your knife parallel to the cutting board and making an incision across then slicing downwards.
Vertical Cutting means to cut the product down its length, such as you would with celery and green onions and then inverting them and cutting down to make a nice dice or mince.
Mincing is basically the same as dicing but is done much finer than a dice. Mincing generally refers to onions, garlic and ginger.
Crushing is a technique that is used best with foods like ginger and garlic. Simply take the side of your knife and lay it on the product and press down evenly on the blade to crush it. This is an easy way to begin the mincing process and is the best way to peel garlic.
Roll and Oblique Cuts- these cuts are nice for presentation. The best way to do it is make a 45 degree angle cut to your product give it a quarter turn and continue the process of the cut and the turn. Roll cuts are basically all the same whereas oblique cuts are all different, you are still turning your product but the degree and the angles of your cuts are different giving each piece a distinct shape.
Shredding and Grating are also methods of cutting and they are easily done in a food processor or on a box-type grater.