Every chef needs to eventually acquire proper chopping skills, especially for the tricky but often used onions. They are quite easy to chop if you know what method to use, but can be a headache if approached haphazardly.
Chopping Onions: Chef’s Knife
Before digging into the actual knife skills, it is first important to think about the knife being used. The best thing to use for basic everyday chopping is a chef’s knife. This blade, usually at least 8 inches long, is curved so foods can be chopped while rocking the knife back and forth, making the process much faster than with a smaller blade that needed to be lifted between each cut.
Your chef’s knife should be of relatively high quality, and will probably run you at least $20. Think of it as an investment to prevent emergency room trips when you would have sliced off your fingers with a mediocre blade. It should be sturdy and have a straight edge – none of those $3 flexible serrated knives you can pick up at any grocery store. If you purchase a good knife and sharpen it regularly by drawing it down a steel at a 20º angle, it will last for years and make chopping a much more enjoyable experience. You can get extra information about knife skills by visit here.
Chopping Onions: Cutting Board
If you have wood cutting boards, I would actually recommend having a separate ones for chopping onions (and garlic as well). Nobody wants the peach they are cutting up to taste like onion, which may happen if the same cutting board is used, especially if it is wood. For this reason, a composite cutting board is best, and it should be at least as long as your knife is so you have plenty of space to work with.
Chopping Onions: Technique
The wonderful thing about chopping onions is that they come in layers, so you only have to chop in two directions to get perfect little minced pieces. However, you do need to be careful, because the layers are prone to slipping, and you don’t want to chop your finger.
How to Mince an Onion
To mince an onion, start by slicing off the top quarter inch and the bottom quarter inch, and peeling any dry layers off and throwing them away. Then cut it in half on the axis that runs through the top and the bottom. For each half of the onion, you will first lay it flat on the board and make a set of slices that run parallel to the cut you made to chop the top and the bottom off. Then, turn the onion 90º and make a number of pie-shaped slices that run from the outside layer to the very center of the onion that is flat on your cutting board. Rub the pieces a little and the layers will separate, giving you perfect minced onions.
How to Slice an Onion into Strips
To slice an onion into strips to sauté and put in food, do the same thing as above, but skip the step when you make parallel slices, and just do the pie-shaped ones. This will make very pretty strips with pointed ends.
How to Slice an Onion into Rings
To slice an onion for hamburgers or something where you want rings, just cut off the top and bottom, peel it, and then slice it all the way down in slices parallel to your cuts for taking off the top and bottom. You will have rings ranging in size from the outside ones to the tiny ones in the middle.