Monday, 25 November 2013

How to Chop an Onion

Chopped red onion
If your kitchen is anything like mine, a good deal of time with cooking each day is taken up with chopping onions. Nearly every recipe has at least one sliced, diced, or chopped onion in it. This is why knowing how to chop an onion safely and quickly is a very good skill for even the casual home cook to have.

It starts with a sharp knife

I cannot emphasise enough how important having a sharp knife is when you're chopping an onion. Do you ever wonder how it is that chefs can chop onions so quickly? It is because that knife is extremely sharp!

These days, I chop onion, peppers, and most other vegetables using a ceramic knife. These hold an edge better than any other knife I have found, and are easy to care for and maintain.

Step-by-step instructions for chopping an onion

1. Top and tail the onion, then cut it in half through the stem.

2. Remove the papery outer covering

3. Make 2 - 3, or more horizontal cuts through the onion half, leaving the stem intact. The number of horizontal cuts you make will help determine how large the chopped pieces will be

4. Make several vertical cuts through the onion, leaving the stem intact. Make these cuts between 1/2 and 1/8 inch thick depending on how large you want the onion pieces to be. The natural striations on the onion are a useful guide for cutting.

5. Slice through the onion, starting at the head and working down to the stem. This last bit can be thrown into the compost or tossed into a pot with other end bits to make a stock.

And there you have it, one onion completely chopped. And once you've gotten a bit of practice in, you'll be able to do your chopping in less time than it took to read this how-to guide.

Happy cooking!