Veteran Move #3: Chopping Onions

So many recipes start with 'Chop an onion'
So many recipes start with ‘Chop an onion’… it’s a critical Kitchen Skill

Learning how to chop dinnertime’s most common staple ingredient is really where the rubber hits the road in the kitchen. It’s true that cooking’s most important Veteran Move is mastering the art of sharpening (or at least deciding to dedicate yourself to keeping your knives as sharp as possible). The second most important Veteran Move is to get comfortable thoroughly reading recipes and setting up all the ingredients ahead of time. But, chopping efficiently and reliably starts really putting food on the table.

Probably your kitchen’s most commonly used ingredient will be the noble onion. Almost all the recipes I’ve collected over the years start with some kind of chopped onion. So, it’s critical you learn the best and safest way to chop this all-important veggie.

Make sure your knife is good and sharp!
Pick out an onion and draw out you favourite chef’s knife (make sure it’s good and sharp!)
cut the top off the onion
Carefully cut the top off the onion (NOT the root1)
cut the onion in half right through the root
Next, cut the onion in half right through the root
Peel away the outside layers before chopping
Peel away the outside layers and discard them
gather the debris for fast disposal
Use a takeout tray or some tupperware in the sink to gather the debris for fast disposal
make consistent cuts at right angles to the root
If you’re going to dice or chop the onion make consistent cuts at right angles to the root… a ‘rough chop’ might see only three right angle cuts, a fine dice of the onion might see ten!
Cut across the grain back toward but not through the root
Carefully make a single cut halfway down the cut off top of the onion. Cut across the grain back toward but not through the root
Chopping an onion
Then, chop away!
Slicing an onion
Slicing an onion means simply slicing it across the grain
Thick or thin slices
Decide in advance if you want the slices thick or thin
If you want to slice rings...
Or, if you want to slice rings… cut the top off as above, peel away the outside layers and then slice across the grain to produce rings!
Onion rings are usually a prelude to caramelizing
Slicing an onion into rings is usually a prelude to caramelizing it

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