Your Friend, the Onion

One of the most versatile veggies you can have on hand is the onion. There aren't many dishes, outside of desserts, that can't benefit from the judicious application of onions. (In Bavaria, however, onion cake is a favorite dish!) A downside to onions, though, is that, because of their structure, unless you know how to do it, dicing an onion can be a pain.

Here's the technique I use for onion dicing. It's pretty much the industry standard. If you've watched any cooking show before, you've probably seen it.

Step 1:Get an onion.
Step 2:Lay the onion on its side and cut off the top.
Step 3:Stand the onion on its (missing) head and cut it in half.
Step 4:Lay the onion down flat.
Step 5a:Cut a criss-cross pattern into the end of the onion, or...
Step 5b:Cut a star pattern into the end of the onion.
Step 6:Slice the onion perpendicularly to the previous cuts.

The idea is really pretty simple. Instead of trying to dice up onion slices, which can take a while, you dice the slices before you make them. Using a criss-cross pattern is the more traditional way to do it (and the only way to mince), but I find that a star pattern is often easier when the size of the pieces is larger. (Unless a dish really needs minced onions, I prefer to chop my onions into bigger pieces for both textural and flavor interest.)

This technique will also work for mincing (with the criss-cross pattern, of course) garlic and shallots and probably any other bulbous veggie without a pit or seeds. It does not work for tomatoes.

There you have it. Odds are you already had it, but what's the Internet for if not distributing useless and redundant information? Doubly so for blogs. Actually, being able to dice an onion is a requirement for the next installment...

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