Classic vegetable cuts, which enhance a dish or recipe, are used on the basis of appearance, texture, size and weight of the vegetables. Classic cuts include techniques such as chiffonade, julienne, rondelle, paysanne, tourne and mirepoix. Classic cutting techniques, taught at culinary institutes and cooking schools, are used by chefs to achieve an elegant appearance and allow for even cooking.
Chiffonade is a cutting method used for herbs and leafy vegetables such as spinach or Swiss chard. To chiffonade vegetables, stack the herbs or greens into piles. Roll the leaves into a tight tubes, then use your chef's knife to cut the vegetables into uniform, thin ribbons.
Rondelles, or rounds, are simple cuts used for long, narrow vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. Rondelle cuts consist of placing the vegetable on a cutting board, then slicing the vegetables horizontally. The key is to make careful, even cuts to create identical rondelles.
Julienne and Batonnet
Julienned vegetables are vegetables cut into uniform, long, rectangular pieces about 1 to 2 inches in length and 1/8 inch in diameter. Batonnet cut is a related cut identical to julienne, but the pieces are slightly larger at 2-1/2 inches in length with a 1/4-inch thickness. To cut julienne or batonnet vegetables, slice off the top, bottom and sides to make an even shape of the desired length. Use your chef's knife to cut the vegetable lengthwise, then stack the slices and cut the vegetables lengthwise again.
Paysanne, also known as peasant cut, is a cut that follows the vegetable's natural shape, providing a rustic appearance. To cut vegetables paysanne style, slice the vegetable evenly into eighths, quarters or halves, and then make thin diagonal cuts 1/8-inch apart. For fancier dishes, slice the top and bottom of the vegetable first. As a result, the vegetables are more even.
Tourne, or turning, is a complicated and time-consuming cut that results in vegetables cut into shapes with narrow, tapered, ends and a thicker middle. Each tapered end has seven uniform sides. Cut the vegetables into uniform chunks, then use the tip of the knife to taper the ends.
Mirepoix is an easy technique in which a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, potatoes and green peppers are cut into chunks of roughly uniform sizes. Uniformity, precision and appearance aren't as important because mirepoix vegetables add flavor to soups or vegetable stock.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.