Taillage Techniques: Mastering The Basic Cuts
Give your dish that wow factor! Taillage, or the skill of vegetable cuts, makes a dish far more impressive to look at and clearly depicts a high level of skill. Practically, it also ensures all the ingredients are the same size, so they cook evenly and have a consistent mouth feel. These cuts are only possible with a high-quality knife, like a Global.
The art of taillage is one of the first skills an aspiring chef or adventurous home cook must master. For beginners, we would suggest starting with a Classic 20cm Global Cooks knife. It’s a beautiful, tough yet dexterous knife that is easy to hold, light and superbly balanced. It is easily wielded and can do all cuts very well. If you are cutting large vegetables – like butternut, you could also use a 20cm Global Vegetable knife to cut it down to a manageable size. To practice these cuts, you will need a damp cloth, a wooden chopping board, your Global knives and your practice vegetables. These can be anything you have lying around, but for the sake of simplicity, the easiest vegetable to begin with is carrots. Peel them first and chop off the top and tail. Place the damp cloth under your board to avoid slipping and injuries.
Translated to “small stick”, the batonette is the first cut to master as it forms a basis by which to understand the other cuts.
To create your batonette, cut your carrot into sections about 3 inches long (roughly 7cm). Trim off the curved edges of the carrot sides to create 4 flat sides. Now slice your carrot into slices of ¼ inch or 6mm. Ensure these slices are as uniform as possible.
Turn your stack of slices once to the side so that you can cut through these slices in the same manner. And that stick is a batonette.
Use it for: The batonette is the perfect cut for crudité’s, roasting vegetables, or fries.
2. Large batonette (Pont-neuf):
This has the same principle but forms a thicker bayonette of- ½ inch/ 1.2cm thick.
Use it for: Thick cut fries.
3. Small Dice (Macédoine):
From a batonette, it is easy to create a small dice (macédoine). To do this, line up your batonettes, hold them together, and chop through the whole stack in ¼ inch spaces to create ¼ inch cubes.
Use it for: Soups, stocks, and salads.
4. Medium Dice (Parmentier):
A large batonette (pont-neuf) can be chopped into cubes of ½ inch, 1.2cm thick to create a Medium dice (parmentier).
Use it for: Any recipe that asks for a diced ingredient, without specifying the size. Often used for tomatoes.
5. Julienne (or allumette when cut from potatoes):
This is the matchstick cut. The size of the julienne is 1/8 thick and 1- 2 inches long (0.3 cm × 0.3 cm × 3 cm–5 cm).
Use it for: Mostly used with carrots, celery, and potatoes as a garnish.
When Julienne sticks are diced, they are called brunoise. Brunoise should be 1/3 inch or 3mm cubes.
Use it for: Carrots, onions, turnips, and celery to flavour soups and sauces.
7. Fine Julienne:
Sticks measuring approximately 1⁄16 by 1⁄16 by 1–2 inches (0.2 cm × 0.2 cm × 3 cm–5 cm).
Use it for: Firm vegetables such as potato, celery, carrots, peppers, or turnips to make a delicate garnish for salads.
8. Fine Brunoise:
Cubes cut from fine Julienne with sides measuring approximately 1⁄16 inch (2 mm)
Use it for: Making sauces like tomato concasse or as an aromatic garnish on dishes.
The ribbon cut is created by rolling up leafy greens or herbs and slicing them in fine strips from 4mm to 10mm in width.
Use it for: Herbs or leafy greens.
Many of these cuts sound quite simple, however they are harder than they sound to get perfect, and only practice will bring them from mismatched to perfect uniform taillage.
Now, while you have time, is the perfect moment to start honing your new knife skills with your Global. Use them to impress yourself, impress your friends, your mom, your mom’s friends. Go wild. With your Global knives you are basically Uma Thurman in Kill Bill now. Or at the very least you can make a very jazzy salad.
If you don’t have the knives you need, visit our webstore to shop and stock up: www.globalknives.co.za. Click the buttons below to find the Classic 20cm Global Cooks knife right and the 20cm Global Vegetable knife.
Another option for slicing your fruit and vegetables is with the Global Mandolins and Turning Slicers. These are recommended by Chefs around the world with the Benriner Mandoline Slicer being the best choice for a professional grade mandoline. We’ll explore these nifty kitchen tools, and how they deliver consistently straight and julienne cuts, in a future blog post.