Good knives are a cook's best friend. They make everyday slicing and dicing fast and easy, and a sharp blade is a pleasure to use. Though stores offer a wide variety, all you need are three good knives - paring, chef's, serrated - and you're set for life! We'll show you which knives you'll need to make cooking a breeze and with a little practice, you'll soon be smashing garlic and mincing parsley like a pro.
Three Fine Knives
- A long, serrated knife is ideal for cutting bread or butter cake. It's also perfect for slicing soft produce like tomatoes.
- A chef's knife is the most versatile. Usually 15-20cm in length, it makes chopping large or hard vegetables a breeze. It's also heavy enough to cut up poultry.
- Small, flexible and inexpensive, paring knives are essential for peeling, coring, seeding peppers, and slicing and dicing small fruits and vegetables.
A Sharper Image
- Sharpen blades professionally or with a knife sharpener at least once a year. Dull knives are dangerous - they don't cut well and tend to slip on surface.
- Protect the edge by storing knives in a block, on a wall-mounted magnetic strip or in a protective sheath.
- Clean knives by hand, not in the dishwasher as they may nick other dishes in machine.
- Cut on wood or plastic boards to cushion the blow. Cutting on glass or countertops will quickly dull a blade.
Cut large produce like squash on its side. Slice off stem with chef's knife and cut into smaller sections.
With awkward shaped produce like swede, cut off bottom with chef's knife to create flat surface then cut into slices.
Use paring knife to cut carrots, celery, zucchini or cucumber into coins or sticks.
To create radish roses, use paring knife. Make four thin petals by cutting the peel from tip down almost to stem; leave a bit of red between the petals. Chill in ice water.
To core cauliflower, place in bowl and cut with paring knife around stem.
To dice onion, use chef's knife, cut onion in half lengthwise. Place each half flat-side down. Make three or four horizontal cuts toward the root end (don't cut all the way through). Make several vertical cuts down through top of onion. Finally, slice across onion to make uniform dice.