Monday, June 20, 2011

Choppin' Broccoli (or Onions)

A bit ago Father-in-Law wondered out loud to me how professional chefs chop an onion. This got me thinking, "How DO professional chefs chop an onion? And why is this secret knowledge?" I feel like not telling us how to really chop things is how professional chefs keep us ignorant and going to their restaurants. I know how to chop an onion and I still eat out. Why the insecurity, Chefs? We're all just eaters.

Anyhoo, let us break the bands of ignorance and arm ourselves with the knowledge of the onion chop.

First things first. Get yourself a proper knife and a proper cutting board. Make sure your knife is sharp. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife, not to mention easier to work with. Also, make sure it has a smooth edge, not a serrated one. There is a time and place for a serrated edge but chopping vegetables is not it. Make sure your cutting board is either wood or plastic. Prolypropylene is the plastic you want. It's softer so it'll keep your knife sharp and your wrists in good repair. If when you chop, your cutting board makes a clackity-clack noise, get rid of it immediately. Not only does it kill your knife but it kills your wrists and hands. I think that's it...

1. Grab your onion and stand it up. Then cut through the root.

2. Cut end off, practically at the tip. Don't cut the root off because that's going to help you keep the onion together later.

This is a good time to peel your onion.

3. With a flat palm hold your onion down as you cut across it horizontally. Stop when you get close to the root. Starting towards the bottom of the onion, do this 2 or 3 times depending on how big you want your end product to be. And make sure you still have all your fingers.

4. Holding your onion firmly from the sides (so it doesn't fall apart on you) cut across vertically 5 or 6 times. Obviously cut all the way down, just make sure you're getting close to, but NOT cutting off, the root. And keep your fingers out of the way.

5. Wrap your hand firmly around your onion. I usually put the heel of my hand close to the root and curl my fingers. This protects my finger tips and also gives my knife a guide as to where it is supposed to go. Notice it is my first set of knuckles, not my fingertips, that are close to the knife. PLEASE watch your thumb. Make sure it is curled in as well, otherwise you will cut part of it off and then you'll have to start over because no one wants to eat a bloody onion.

We're chopping, we're chopping... True story: The guy who designed my knife is named Ken Onion, no joke.

6. When you get close to the root you can call it quits and move on or you can flip it 90 degrees so it's flat on it's side then repeat the vertical slicing 5-6 times.

7. And we finish by cutting across.

Yay! Knowledge is power. Once you get the hang of this, chopping onions will go by super fast making your favorite dishes, like guacamole, will be a quick reality. Practice makes perfect so go out and chop onions.

Let me know how it goes or if I can research some more chopping techniques for you guys (or guy? I don't know how many readers I have). Also, sorry if the pictures look backwards, I'm left-handed.

Chop safe!

1 comment:

  1. Is Brandon taking pictures for you? This is a really great step-by-step tutorial. You're on your way to food blogging fame!