Creating a Chiffonade Cut
A Sharp-Looking Cut
Professional chefs have particular cutting techniques for certain food items. For delicate herbs like basil, for example, they often use a cut called a chiffonade to create thin ribbons. A chiffonade is perfect for preparing a light and fluffy garnish, but it can also be used for cutting up crisp romaine for a Caesar salad. If you were to simply rough chop your leaves, they’d wind up brown and wilted.
A chiffonade is an easy cut, but you need a sharp knife. If your knife is too dull, you’ll end up bruising your basil. This small yet significant difference can play a dramatic role in your finished dish.
Ensure thin strips of fresh, delicate herbs or leafy greens by using the chiffonade technique. For this method to work, stack your leaves and roll them up tightly, almost like you’re rolling a cigar. Once you have your herbs packed, start slicing crosswise to create strips. This technique is helpful when you want to achieve small strips of basil to garnish your pasta plates.