When I was in cooking school, we spent many a day practicing our knife skills. For every new cut we learned — from bruniose to macedoine to julienne — we diced and chopped our way to callous-covered fingers until all of our cuts were precisely the same size. We held our breath as the instructor leaned over our cutting boards, searching for just one tiny diced carrot that was even a hair larger or smaller than his tiny brothers and sisters.
While you won’t have a persnickety chef judging your chopping efforts at home (or will you?), one knife skills tip can make all the difference in how your dish turns out. It’s simple. The important thing to remember when you’re preparing ingredients for a recipe is to cut them into pieces that are about the same size.
Knife Skills Tip – Why Size Matters
Size really does matter on a cutting board. Not only will your food look nicer, but more importantly food cut at about the same size will cook in about the same time. If they’re seriously uneven, the smaller pieces will overcook, leaving the larger pieces under-cooked. No need to break out the ruler for this but your best effort to chop, slice or dice your ingredients into the same general size range will make cooking them so much easier! This rule isn’t just for vegetables. It’s important to practice when cutting proteins, as well. No one wants an over or undercooked piece of chicken, fish or beef on their plate either.
A sharp knife makes it easier to cut with precision. Check out my tips for choosing a chef’s knife here.