Photo courtesy Williams-SonomaA mandoline is a countertop slicer used to cut food, usually vegetables, in a variety of shapes and sizes that would be difficult to produce with a knife. You can cut food into thin slices or shapes by carefully moving them back and forth across the mandoline’s cutting surface. Most mandolines come with a protective cutting guard that covers the food while you slice it. It keeps your hands and fingers from coming into contact with the sharp blade, especially as the food gets smaller.

Mandolines are used to create the paper-thin vegetable slices used in gratins. You can also use them to make gaufrettes, or ridged slices.

When you use a mandoline, always use the protective guard or if your mandoline doesn’t have one, be sure to keep your hand and fingers completely straight. Make sure the mandoline is on a sturdy, flat surface to prevent slipping during use.

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