15 May 2010

Kitchen Basics: Slicing and Dicing an Onion

One thing I find myself doing over and over and over again when I cook is dicing onions. They're so incredibly versatile, and can add depth of flavor to any dish. A vast number of savory dishes call for sliced or diced onion, shallot, or garlic. This dicing method, which I learned in my cooking classes in college, makes dicing onions quick, and relatively painless!

Note: If you are exceptionally sensitive to the sulfur in onions (i.e. they make your eyes water like the dickens), one trick I've found to work best is to have a fan blow a cross breeze across your cutting board, minimizes the amount of sulfur creeping up into your eyes. Just be careful if you have pets, as this can obviously blow around fur and dander, which is not something you want in your dish!

Here's what you need:

Cutting Board & Towel(set up per my  previous post)
Sharp Chef's Knife (see this post for info on choosing a knife)

Here's what you do:

1. Ensure your cutting board is secure, and your knife is sharp.

2. Grab your onion, and find the TOP. The top is where the papery skin from the onion comes together and grows away from the onion. The BOTTOM is where the roots come out, it will look kinds of like a brownish knob with whitish grey hairs poking out.

3. Slice off the top, just enough to give you a nice flat section, about the size of a half dollar (a quarter to a half inch or so).

4. Lie your onion top-side down, on its newly flat end. Slice carefully in half, making sure to cut straight through the root. This will hold together the onions layers in the next few steps. Peel of the papery and dried layers to expose the onion.

5. If you are right handed, put one half down with the root end pointing to your left (angle towards 9 or 10 o'clock). Very carefully, slice perpendicular to the root, making several downawards cute through the onions layers (as shown below)

6. Now, taking care to keep your fingertips bent out of the way of the knife, make several slices parallel to the root, and you have a nicely diced onion! This method can also be used to finely dice a shallot or clove of garlic, but as these are much smaller than a typical onion, as always, practice caution.

Slicing an Onion

Follow the same steps above, but omit step 5.

1 comment:

  1. A Slap Chop works great too.


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