Several years back, the Hubs and I watched a whole season of The Amazing Race on TV. One episode they were in Jamaica and the challenge they had to get through was to dice a 50lb bag of onions. If we had been on the Amazing Race that day, we would have DOMINATED! It was then and there i realized that the majority of the world must not know how to properly dice an onion. So I am here today to change your life, one onion and recipe at a time. Hold on people…we’re about to get technical, photos and all!
First of all, get a good cutting board. (I highly recommend a pricey but well worth it brand called Epicurean. They’re made of pressed paper i think and can be put in the dishwasher even. They don’t dull your knives and are just plain awesome. You can get the best deal on them at Amazon.com. And get a big one…you’ll be glad.)
Next, don’t even think about grabbing a pitifully small knife. Go for the big one…the one you’re too afraid to use normally. Seriously…right now, put the paring knife down and get the 10″ chef’s knife. You’ll be fine, I’m right here!
With your giant knife, cut off the end of the onion…JUST the end where the skin comes together in a point. Leave the end with the stringy things attached. This is CRUCIAL!
Next, cut the onion in half…straight through the stringy end. When you do this it’ll hold the onion together, and it makes it easier to peel when it’s cut in half.
Ok, peel that bad boy! I left the skin on one to show you that it’s still attached form the stringy end. Just go ahead and pull the skin off though, this was just to show you.
Look at how much i love you. I even drew directly on the onion to show you! (Don’t worry, i threw that layer away. I don’t want to ruin my stew with ink.) So, i usually make about 7 cuts in the thing. See how my knife is angled towards the center? Each cut should angle towards the center…so the middle cut will be straight down. You following? Imagine the multi-colored sections of a beachball…it’s kinda like that.
Then, from the end AWAY from the stringy end, start cutting straight down. See how the onion is just falling into small pieces?! You’re using the layers of the onion to your advantage now! Manipulate that thing baby!
Ok, now after you’ve cut about halfway or so and you start feeling like you might be getting close to your fingers, flip that sucker straight up so the stringy part is facing upwards. Then start cutting straight down again. When you get close to the stringy end, flip it back flat again and finish up.
Look at you! You culinary wizard you! You just did it! Now wasn’t that so much easier than the crazy chop you’ve been doing?! And look at how nice and even your pieces are! If you want the pieces smaller, then just make more of your beachball cuts and when you make your straight cuts, then do them closer together. Cut shallots this way too. Or garlic! The possibilities are endless!
And later today i’m going to share with you an amazing recipe for Brunswick Stew…which is why i was cutting this onion in the first place! But for now, the baby’s nap is over and i have some mommying to do!