As an occasional cook, I know the value of correctly diced vegetables when the recipe calls for it. But I don't have the knife skills to work through a soup's worth of vegetables in under an hour. In lieu of simply "getting better" with the knife (if I were going to be a chef, it would have happened by now), how can I quickly and accurately mow through a pile of dicing work?
Try a mandoline. If you're not familiar, it's a gadget that has a horizontal blade for slicing as you slide food across it. Most have a dial that allows you to adjust thickness or to create julienne or "French-fry" shape. You can then just do one more chop to turn the "fries" into dice.
Aside from that, I'd be remiss if I didn't make a plug for improving knife skills! :)
- practice practice practice! It's worth the time investment.
- class! I took a 2-hour knife skills class at a local kitchen supply store. I went from mediocre to slightly-better-than-mediocre knife skillz in no time! You'll learn some tips and tricks to make it go more smoothly.
You don't quickly and accurately mow through without knife skills, you are either slow and accurate or quick and inaccurate. Which you chose depends on the result you want.
If you have a load of vegetables and not much knife skill here's what I suggest:
- Bigger pieces mean less cuts, and therefore less time
- Go for a rougher cut, less accuracy means less time. Tell them it's a rustic dish
- if you are cutting long vegetables like zucchini or carrots try cutting them the long way into 4 pieces, then chopping across, that way for every cross cut you are getting 4 pieces. Try to use this principle for other vegetables as well, it's a big time-saver