Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cutting Onions: Slice Versus Julienne

You may have already met julienne. Perhaps you’d like to get to know Julienne a little better.

Julienne works well with onions. But julienned onions are very different from sliced onions. Here’s how.

To slice an onion, start by trimming the root.


(Don’t actually cut off the root end, just trim it to keep the little rootlets from getting mixed in with the rest of the onion later. Also, the root end of the onion will act as a little handle, making it easier to hold onto the onion as you cut it, especially as you reach the end.) Cut off the stem end.


Peel the onion.


Position the onion in the center of your cutting board with the stem end facing your knife and cut slices of the desired thickness.


When you reach the root end, discard it. You can separate the slices into rings.


These are perfect for burgers and other sandwiches.

For half slices, which are great in salads, prepare and peel the onion as described above. Place the onion stem end down, and cut it in half.


Working with one half at a time, position the onion in the center of your cutting board cut side down and with the stem end facing your knife. Cut slices of the desired thickness.


When you reach the root end, discard it. The size of the resulting pieces can vary substantially; slices from the central layers of the onion will be much smaller than slices from the outer layers.


Julienne pieces of an onion look quite different—imagine them as very thin wedges of the onion. To julienne an onion, cut off the root end.


(This is the only onion knife cut where you would actually cut off the root end at the beginning.) Cut off the stem end and peel the onion. Stand the onion on one of its ends, and cut it in half. Working with one half at a time, position the onion in the center of your cutting board cut side down and with one of its round edges facing your knife. Since the onion is round, angle your knife sharply and begin cutting matchstick-size pieces.


Continue cutting in a radial manner, gradually changing the angle of the knife with each cut.


By the time you reach the middle of the onion, your knife should be at a 90-degree angle to the cutting board.


When you’re most of the way through, and it begins to feel a little unstable, flip over the onion.


And start again.


Put all these steps together, and it should look something like this.

video


The size of julienned onions is relatively consistent.


This means they will cook much more evenly than sliced onions and are a much better choice for sautéing, stir-frying, and caramelizing.


Click here for information on how to dice and chop onions.

Click here for information on how to julienne other foods.

6 comments:

mtaylor219 said...

Very interesting.. thank you for the lesson :)

A Johnson said...

I was told that the way you cut an onion makes the flavour vary as flavours leech differently. Cutting the julienne way makes for a sweeter onion taste. I've cut the julienne way ever since and I think it does make a real difference.

Rasputin said...

this post was a life saver.
thanks a LOT.
something i have tried for months as a novice and u perfected it for me..

Theresa said...

A great pictoral tutorial. I hope you don't mind me linking to this post from my blog. Your site is a great resource!

Dominic said...

This is the way I learned to slice onions from my dad. Well, sometimes I do a much coarser cut, but I always cut them radially. I had no idea there was a name for it. Neat.

Daghead said...

I work at Chipotle and wondered today why we don't slice the "cut" way. Turns out what we call "cut onions" is called julienned, and that I should keep doing it that way because it is best for our sauteed fajitas.

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