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No, it's not some old-timey dance step. Or something draped over the lights in a brothel. Chiffonade is a technique used to cut leafy vegetables and herbs into slender ribbons.
Step 1: Wash vegetable
Wash the vegetable or herb, cutting off any stems that are still attached.
Step 2: Stack leaves
Stack a handful of leaves on top of each other.
If you're using basil, stack up about 8 leaves at a time; for leafy greens, stack about 3 leaves.
Step 3: Hold stack
Roll the stack up tightly and hold it horizontally on the board in front of you with one hand.
Step 4: Grasp knife
Grasp the knife in your dominant hand, holding the handle close to the blade with three fingers: your middle, ring, and pinkie. Curl your forefinger around one side of the blade while holding your thumb on the opposite side.
Step 5: Hold roll
Hold the roll with your non-knife-wielding hand close to the area you will cut.
Curl your fingers so that the tips are firmly planted on the roll and the knuckles point outward—in the food world, this is called the 'claw grip.'
Step 6: Slice on angle
Starting at one end, make thin slices with your knife at a 60-degree angle to the roll. Make the slices about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch apart—creating very slender ribbons.
When cutting, be sure to keep your fingers tucked in from the blade and allow your knuckles to guide the blade across the roll.
Step 7: Add more greens
If you need more greens, stack, roll, and cut another handful of leaves until you have enough for your garnish.
Did You Know?
The word chiffonade comes from the French for 'made of rags.'