It’s easy to get carried away when cooking exotic dishes. Immediately you start thinking of all the weird and interesting seasonings you’ll be applying. Or what level heat you should let the pot simmer at and for how long. These are all important factors that every chef should consider. But let’s not forget about the bare basics. First and foremost, you have to learn how to cut your vegetables. You need to be able to do so quickly, succinctly, and without any injuries. Your fingers are your friends and you want to hold on to them for as long as possible.
If you’re a beginner chef with your eye on those elaborate French and Italian dishes you see on TV, mostly all of the meals you’ll be preparing, at least for now, will involve an onion or two. You’re going to get a lot of practice cutting onions. But all that practice will prove useless without the proper technique. The last thing you need is to develop bad habits early on in your training. So before you get off to a bad start, let’s get you rolling in the right direction. Here’s how to cut an onion. The right way!
It’s important that you use a sharp knife. Any time you cut anything, be it meat, fruit or vegetables, you need to sharpen the knife beforehand. Eventually this should be second nature for you. That also means you’ll need a sharpener. You’ll find yourself stocking your kitchen with new and useful supplies constantly over time.
That top brown section of your onion should come off. That can be thrown in the trash bin. With that section removed, there should now be a flat space. Place the onion balanced on the flat space atop your cutting board. Then cut the onion down the middle so that you end up with two separate semicircles. Be sure to leave the root intact, as this will come in handy later.
There should be some papery exterior skin. Now that you’ve cut the onion in half, this skin should be easy for you to remove manually. Go ahead and find and opening and rip it off with your hands.
Now start chopping the onion vertically all around the semicircle. Be very careful and make sure to slightly angle the knife down so that in case you lose your balance, you don’t cut yourself. When cutting, be sure not to interfere with the root at the top. Leaving the root intact keeps the onion together, which is crucial to make the next step possible.
Now turn the onion horizontally and start chopping. This will allow you to chop the onion into small pieces in a timely manner. If you hadn’t left the root intact, you would have had to chop the onion into smaller pieces on the cutting board. That’s a tedious and inefficient process that you’re going to want to avoid if you can.
You’re well on your way to becoming a pro! Now for the rest of the food handling criteria, you’re going to have to get your official credentials. For professional food handler training, call Ken Kuscher at 561-703-7196.