by Vonnie Williams
While having the best knives and maintaining them is important, how and what you use your knives on are just as important. The right knife combined with the proper technique and ingredients ensures you’re maximizing the flavors and textures you want and guarantees your food will cook evenly—while making you feel like a boss in the kitchen.
And what’s the one foundational skill that helps achieve all of this? Knowing your specific knife cuts. With the proper technique and Made In’s award-winning, fully forged knives, you’ll be able to execute any knife cut flawlessly. Below, check out four common knife cuts and the best dishes to incorporate them in!
If you’ve ever used garlic, ginger, or onions, you’ve probably chopped them into tiny, slightly irregular pieces—which is what mincing is all about. It’s the best technique for infusing and distributing flavor throughout your dish unless you want to bite into a huge chunk of raw garlic (but hey, we’re not judging you if that’s your thing). Bust out your mincing skills when you’re cutting up garlic for a herb vinaigrette or making compound butter—our Paring Knife is up to the task and gives you control and accuracy, especially when mincing smaller portions of food.
Also known as the matchstick cut, you’ll want to aim for thin, uniform strips that are stick-shaped, about 3 inches long, and ⅛ inch thick. To julienne, cut your ingredients into squares (but don’t throw away the scraps!) and then cut lengthwise. This is great for quick recipes like stir-fries where you want your ingredients to cook evenly (and look great, too). Julienning also works well when you’re making slaws. Check out our Nakiri Knife for this one; the straight and thin blade is perfect for julienning even the most delicate foods with precision.
The very fancy-sounding chiffonade is a cut most commonly used for herbs and leafy vegetables. To chiffonade, stack your leafy vegetables or herbs on top of each other, roll them tightly, and slice across. Thin, fine chiffonade cuts are perfect for garnishes or for incorporating more cruciferous, hardy greens (think kale and collards) into a salad. Thicker, more significant cuts are best for sauteing as the cooked vegetable will shrink. Look to our heavy hitter, cut-through-anything 8-inch Chef Knife to provide even and hearty chiffonade ribbons alike!
Think of brunoise as the chop’s more refined, fancy cousin (cues pinky finger in the air). This cut results in evenly prepared ingredients that are smaller than your standard chop. To brunoise, start with a julienne, stack your ingredients on top of each other, then cut. We like to brunoise veggies for mirepoix in ragu (you still get the aromatics from the celery, carrots, and onions without seeing thick chunks of veggies in the sauce) delicate soups, or for our favorite veggie dips. For this cut, our 7" Santoku Knife rises to the occasion. Hand scalloped to reduce friction, this tool is perfect for making sure your ingredients end up on the board—and not stuck on your knife.
As with everything, practice makes perfect (and more delicious meals). Happy cooking!