Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cooking 101 - The Art of the Chiffonade

I thought I'd step away from my arts and crafts obsession and do a quick tutorial on an easy, classic knife skill - the chiffonade. (shihf-uh-NAHD). Taken from the literal French translation, it means "made of rags", but to apply it to a culinary use, it refers to thin strips or threads of vegetables. (Classically lettuces, or herbs.). You can use this technique for greens as large as collards, chard, kale, etc or as small and delicate as mint, basil or sorrel. I have always loved this technique, there's something about the way the knife (always sharp!), runs through the densely rolled up greenery, then making perfect, beautiful ribbons. It's ideal for a garnish, and for the larger greens, it makes sauteeing easier and more elegant. It also allows the greens to lie nicely on the place once cooked.

It's easy:
Take your greens and stack uniformly. (if using a a dense green, remove tough stalk from the middle of the leaf.) Roll into a tight bundle. Slice through the bundle, across the leaf. (Thinner cuts for herbs, especially if using for a garnish). For larger greens, cut your strip at about 1 inch in thickness.

No comments: