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Many dishes start off by finely chopping and then frying vegetables (usually onions, carrots, celery and maybe garlic) to get a good flavour base.

If you want to get the maximum flavour would it not be better to blend them all into a paste and then fry off the paste? (Assuming of course that they would cook away completely during the cooking anyway)

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There's nothing stopping you blitzing a mirepoix in a food processor, but what tends to happen is that the onions especially release a lot of water which can prevent them, and the rest of the mix, browning nicely.

For this reason, a nice small dice is usually the best way to proceed.

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Also, by blending you massively increase the surface area of the mirepoix which will increase the rate of flavour extraction compared to just dicing and might possibly unbalance your dish unless you alter the vegetable ratios to compensate. –  Stefano Oct 13 '12 at 13:59
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There's a bit of a difference between a good food processor and a blender. –  Jefromi Oct 13 '12 at 17:39
    
Semantics - my food processor has a blender attachment that I use to blend things. Suffice it to say, a fine dice in a food processor is likely better than a pasting in a blender. –  ElendilTheTall Oct 13 '12 at 18:14
    
Blending onions will make it very strong and bitter. –  citizen Oct 13 '12 at 21:41
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