Food & Recipes

Slice, Dice Or Julienne—Does Cut Matter?

Better start brushing up on those knife skills!

Have you ever tucked into a delicious meal and then thought: “I really wish these veggies were sliced instead of chopped”? Slice, chop or julienne—when it comes to how we cut vegetables, how much of a difference does it really make?

We know that cutting an onion against the grain brings out a more pungent flavor than cutting with the grain does. And there must be something to the way we cut other veggies too, or chefs and cookbook authors wouldn’t bother specifying how ingredients should be cut in our favorite recipes. So what IS the deal with the cut, and how hard should you work to make sure you perfect your slices and dices?

1. The Right Cut Can Add More Flavor

According to NPR, cook, blogger and food critic Leslie Brenner says “the cooking method is going to penetrate more finely cut vegetables more.” She says finely cut vegetables react more with ingredients like butter, salt or a marinade.

2. Cook Time Varies

The way we cut our vegetables can not only change the flavor, but also the cook time. The more finely vegetables are cut, the less cook time is required. If you have different-sized vegetables, you will also have a variety of results when cooking them. Adapting your cut size is also a way to speed up the cooking time when you’re in a rush. Want those potatoes to cook more quickly? Just cut them smaller.

3. Texture Changes Taste

NPR also quoted Bill Fuller, corporate chef for the big Burrito Restaurant Group, who said, “Flavor is the taste of what is in your mouth, but it is also partly textural.”

For anyone who has ever fed a toddler, this is not news. Texture is a huge part of eating. The way something feels definitely changes the way we taste it. If you’re not convinced it makes a difference, just try eating roast chicken baby food in place of a juicy slice of roast chicken.

Photo by snre