goop Label: A new edition unveiled monthly.
October edition coming soon »

Make

Chopped mirepoix from above.

Knife Skills Every Home Cook Should Master

No matter how refined your palate may be, a cook who lacks good basic knife skills is a liability in the kitchen. Since we think visual aids are the most helpful way to learn, we asked our food editor to demonstrate some basic skills: Grab a good sharp knife and use the below videos to brush up on your technique.

  • Holding a Knife

    Holding a Knife

    1. Don’t firmly grip the handle with all five fingers—you won’t have enough control and range of motion.

    2. Instead, gently hold the knife with your pointer finger and thumb touching the blade.

  • Dicing an Onion

    Dicing an Onion

    1. Cut the ends off the onion then cut down the middle to make two equal halves. Remove the outer papery layer, then lay the onion flat-side down on your board (always place the largest flat surface area of vegetable down on your board to give you the most stability while cutting).

    2. Carefully make vertical slices at a slight angle, about ¼-inch apart, being sure to make a claw shape with your left hand to protect your fingers as you cut. Don’t cut all the way through the onion—you want to leave the root end intact so the onion stays together.

    3. Turn the blade of your knife parallel to the cutting board and make horizontal slices (about ¼- to ½-inch apart, depending on how finely you need your onion diced), starting at the bottom and moving your way to the top.

    4. Make a claw shape with your left hand again, using your thumb and pinky to gently hold the onion together and make vertical cuts (about ¼- to ½-inch apart) with your blade.

  • Slicing an Onion

    Slicing an Onion

    1. Cut the ends off the onion then cut down the middle to make two equal halves. Remove the outer papery layer and make two triangular cuts to remove the root (this will help the sliced onion pieces separate).

    2. Lay the onion flat-side down on your board and slice at a slight angle, following the curve of the onion (slice all the way from the root to the tip), ¾ of the way through.

    3. When you reach ¾ of the way, flip the onion so the largest surface area is on the board (this will give you more stability), and finish slicing.

  • Smash and Peel Garlic

    Smash and Peel Garlic

    1. Place the garlic clove on your board, lay the blade of your knife on top, and smash with your non-dominant hand to crush the clove and break the paper shell.

    2. Use a paring knife to cut across the root of the clove and remove the peel (using a paring knife will keep your fingers from getting sticky garlic juice on them).

  • Mincing Garlic

    Mincing Garlic

    1. Use the claw/slice technique to thinly slice the garlic, then scrape any stuck pieces from the knife blade and your fingers and make a neat pile on your board.

    2. Rest your left hand on top of the knife blade and rock it back and forth, up and down, and side to side to mince.

    3. Use your knife to scrape up the garlic on your board as you mince, putting it back into a nice pile and scrape any stuck garlic from the knife blade a couple of times to make sure no slices get overlooked.

  • Making Garlic Paste

    Making Garlic Paste

    1. Once you have a pile of minced garlic, garlic paste is not too difficult to achieve. Add a pinch of salt to the minced garlic pile (this helps break it down), and continue using the mincing technique to cut it up even more finely.

    2. Then, holding the blade with both hands, tilt it to a 45-degree angle and drag it across the pile of garlic.

    3. Use the knife to push the garlic back into a pile, wipe any stuck garlic from the blade, and repeat the dragging technique, being sure to press down firmly.

    4. Continue scraping, pushing it back into a mound, and cleaning the blade as many times as you need to (repeating any steps a couple times in a row if necessary), until you have a smooth paste.

  • Dicing a Carrot

    Dicing a Carrot

    1. Cut the ends off the carrot, peel (if desired), and cut into manageable, roughly 2-inch pieces.

    2. Cut down the center of the carrot and flip the pieces so the flat side is resting on your board (this will give you the stability to safely dice).

    3. Cut down the middle of the carrot to make 4 even carrot stick shapes.

    4. Line up all the carrot sticks in a row, then cut into a dice, being sure to make your left hand into a claw shape and using your thumb and pinky fingers to help keep the bundle in place.

  • Julienne and Brunoise a Carrot

    Julienne and Brunoise a Carrot

    1. Cut the ends off the carrot, peel (if desired), and cut into manageable, roughly 2-inch pieces.

    2. Carefully slice off one edge of the carrot, then flip it so that the flat edge is resting on the board (this gives you the necessary stability to safely cut it).

    3. Hold your left hand in the claw position, and slice vertically into the carrot, cutting as thinly as you can without losing control.

    4. Make the carrot slices into little piles on your board, then cut into matchsticks.

You may also like