Unless you happen to be a rabbit, no one wants to eat a salad with a whole carrot on top. Even raw carrot coins can be tricky to pick up with a fork. Although building a salad (and other meals) might seem simple, you'll need to know the proper way to slice your ingredients.
Whether you're chopping veggies for taco Tuesday, sprucing up a salad, or getting ready to stir fry your dinner, knowing how to julienne cut vegetables, fruits, and even meat will ensure your ingredients cook evenly and come out perfectly bite-sized.
What Is a Julienne Cut?
A French cooking term, julienne refers to a knife technique that produces thinly sliced strips of vegetables, fruits, or meats. The thin, julienned strips are usually about 3-inches long and 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick. The julienne cut is sometimes referred to as French cut or matchstick cut – especially when describing French cut beans and matchstick or julienned carrots.
How to Make Perfectly Julienned Veggies, Fruits, and Meats
1. Gather Your Tools
Choose the knife you will use to cut your food. A chef's knife is usually the safest and most effective choice for julienning vegetables, fruits, and meat. The sturdy blade of a chef's knife will help you create the straight, uniform slices you need for the julienne cut. If you are working with smaller or softer fruit or vegetables, you could use a paring knife instead.
In addition to a sharp knife, you'll also need a cutting board that won't damage your blade. A wooden butcher block is the best choice; plastic, stone, or ceramic cutting boards, plates, and countertops will damage your knives.
2. Peel and Prepare
To prepare your food for julienning, first, peel your fruits or vegetables. If they are round, cut a thin slice off one side to create a flat side. This will keep the vegetable stable and prevent it from rolling around while you're cutting.
3. Cut Crosswise
Place the vegetables with its flat side against your cutting board. Use a ruler or simply eye the vegetable to cut it crosswise into sections about 3-inches long.
4. Slice Lengthwise
Slice the 3-inch sections lengthwise into uniform slabs (1/16 to 1/8-inch thick). Separate any bits with rounded edges and either trim them or save them for another use.
5. Create Julienned Strips>
To create thin strips, slice each slab lengthwise into 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick strips. (To speed up this final step, try stacking a few slabs to slice them all at once.)
Ta-da! You now have perfectly julienned vegetables, fruits, or meat to cook and enjoy.
Take Your Knife Skills a Step Further with the Brunoise Cut
Once you've learned to julienne cut properly, you can take your knife technique one step further to master the brunoise cut, which makes teeny-tiny cubes. First, line up a few of your julienned vegetables. Next, cut them crosswise (the same length as before) to create cubes.
By using the proper knife technique, you can ensure your veggies, fruits, and meats are sliced, julienned, and diced to perfection. Not only will your dishes look beautiful on the plate, but they will also cook evenly and taste wonderful. Never again will you feel like a rabbit when you bite into the raw center of a too-large vegetable in your stew!