(If you are here in hopes of seeing a Nutella recipe in celebration of World Nutella Day, a holiday well worth honoring, head to yesterday's post – I couldn't wait – for Chewy Nutella Oatmeal Bars.)
Julienne. No, it's not your neighbor, Julien's sultry French cousin. Rather, it's the fancy term for chopping vegetables into thin, even strips. Perhaps you refer to carrots cut in this way as matchstick carrots. Whatever you call it, julienned vegetables cook evenly and look a heck of a lot prettier than the haphazard chopping I used to do. In keeping with the theme of "easy and doable" for my weekly how-to tutorials, this post takes you through the steps of achieving perfect julienned carrots.
According to The Professional Chef, written by the team of chefs at the Culinary Institute of America (I’m inclined to think they know what they are talking about), the julienne cut ranges in size. Fine julienne measures 1/16 x 1/16 x 1 to 2 inches, julienne measures 1/8 x 1/8 x 1 to 2 inches, and batonnet refers to cuts 1/4 x 1/4 x 2 to 2 1/2 inches. That might be a little too much information for the average home cook, but the point to take away is that the thickness of the cut is balanced to insure even cooking. Now let’s take a look at how easy this is.
How to do it:
Using a 1 1/2 to 2-inch piece of peeled carrot, cut off the four sides to form a rectangle. Trim the ends to make the piece even. The leftover pieces can be used for stocks, soups, or nibbling.
Cut the carrot into equal slices, lengthwise. The size of the matchsticks will depend on how thick these slices are. If you want thin matchsticks, then be sure to cut thin slices. The same reasoning follows for thicker matchsticks, also known as a batonnet cut. The thickness may vary from 1/16 to 1/4 inch.
Stack the slices evenly, then cut through the stacks to form matchsticks. The slices should be the same thickness as the previous step so that the thickness is even all around the matchstick.
Continue with the remaining pieces of carrot until you reach the desired amount. See, wasn’t that easy?
Check back next Saturday for another how-to tutorial.
Other how-to tutorials: