Is it a musical movement? Perhaps a type of fabric? Or maybe a retro hairdo? Nope, nope, and nope, guess again…
Chiffonade means to cut food, particularly leafy herbs or vegetables, into strips or shreds, like little streamers. Chiffonade can also refer to the resulting shape.
To cut a chiffonade is very easy. Arrange the leaves into a neat stack.
Roll the stack up tightly.
And slice thinly.
Continue until the entire roll of leaves is sliced.
Then gently separate the individual pieces.
When cutting a chiffonade, use a very sharp knife. A dull knife will crush delicate leaves and cause the cut edges to discolor. Basil and mint are especially tender and can turn black quickly, so chiffonade them at the last moment before use.
The chiffonade is a very versatile shape. Prepare leafy greens like spinach, chard, or kale to be sautéed by cutting them into a coarse chiffonade. A chiffonade of cabbage, baby spinach, or romaine lettuce makes a pretty addition to a salad. Chiffonaded herbs such as mint, sage, and basil make great garnishes. Basil chiffonade is especially lovely scattered over a pasta dish. This is one knife cut that’s certain to add both visual and textural interest to your cooking.