You do not necessarily have to be a chef to prepare some of the tastiest and best looking meals for your family. But then, you do need to know how to get it done correctly. Slicing vegetables is one of the first things chefs learn. It is imperative to actually do it fast or they miss deadlines when cooking something. At first, it might look hard. With time, you will get used to the movement, so you can slice foods according to the recipe – evenly and quickly. These skills are mandatory for safety and efficiency, so it might be wise to learn how to do it by the book if you truly want to impress your loved ones.
Generally speaking, there are two different ways to slice vegetables – the hard way and the easy way. Many chefs rely on the hard way out of pride, yet those who want speed will inevitably choose the easy way. Then, what do these methods imply?
The Hard Way
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The hard way of slicing vegetables implies using a knife – preferably, a chef’s knife. These knives are general and can work for most types of foods. Sure, there are many individualized knives as well. Some of them work for vegetables, while others work for meat. First, you have to cut veggies in half lengthwise. If they have awkward shapes, you can just do it again on each half. From that point on, slice them widthwise.
Using the knife is fairly simple. You need to keep the blade on the cutting board with the dominant hand. Use the other hand to slice the veggie. Create a claw and keep the knife in touch with it. The knife should touch the first joint of the finger, which is supposed to be ahead of the tip. Basically, the knife should never get above any part of the finger or you risk cutting yourself. With time, the movement becomes fairly simple.
Move your fingers backwards as the knife gets closer. Keep in mind that different vegetables have different cutting methods, yet the principles are alike.
The Easy Way
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The easy way to slice vegetables implies using a mandoline slicer. A mandoline slicer is basically a large board (usually made of plastic) split in two. One of the sides has a cutting edge on the split. Keep the mandoline slicer with one hand and use the other one to slide the vegetable on it. As it goes up, there is no cutting edge. When it slides down, the food is sliced. The distance between these two sides is responsible for the slice thickness. It is also adjustable. Make sure that you hold vegetables with the back of the palm if you do not want to slice your fingers.
In conclusion, you do not always require any professional skills to learn how to slice like a chef. Get a mandoline slicer and use it for pretty much everything, from cucumbers and tomatoes to mushrooms and carrots. It is up to you to set the thickness based on the recipe.