Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Dicing & chopping shallots: whats the trick?


marvelous_marvin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Lately I've made a few recipes that require diced shallots. For the life of me, I cannot get an even dice. The shallots are just too small, and whats more, the middle part of them keeps slipping out, frustrating my efforts at even chopping.

What's the trick to dicing a shallot? I have read that it's "just like dicing an onion" but my onion technique fails utterly when applied to shallots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lately I've made a few recipes that require diced shallots.  For the life of me, I cannot get an even dice.  The shallots are just too small, and whats more, the middle part of them keeps slipping out, frustrating my efforts at even chopping.

What's the trick to dicing a shallot?  I have read that it's "just like dicing an onion" but my onion technique fails utterly when applied to shallots.

Are you familiar with the eG Culinary Institute course on Basic Knife Skills? The method for "mincing a shallot" works nicely. If a uniformly fine dice is needed, I use the technique shown for dicing an onion, except I find it easier and safer to do the horizontal cut first.

If the middle of the shallot keeps slipping out, you might want to peel off one more outer layer or check out Chad's Knife Maintenance and Sharpening course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you leave the root end attached when you chop, it will help keep the whole thing intact, with no middle slippage. ( i peel the skin back to the root, but not all the way off--that way, i can grip the paperky skin as a handle while i shop--keeping fingers out of the way!)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mince a shallot or garlic the same way I do an onion. As Bruce said, it's better to do the horizontal cuts first. Make even horizontal slices then just as even vertical slices. Then with the root on the left (for a right-hander) start making slices across (from top to bottom as you hold it) to mince/dice. You should get nice little 1/4" squares.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've adoped ChefCrash's technique of using the the heal, (not exactly heal but close to it), of the knife instead of the tip to make the vertical cuts of an onion and it works well for shallots too. I find I can get a lot of very tight cuts which result in a finer dice using this technique.

Link to onion thread here

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=102316&hl=

Link to comment
Share on other sites

marvelous_marvin, if I had to guess, I'd say that your knife probably needs sharpening. There's no reason the middle should be slipping out on you like that unless you're having to use too much pressure due to a dull knife.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good tip about peeling back the skin but leaving it attached.

I think a forged Euro-style knife also causes onions and shallots to start to break up while dicing due to the wedging effect of the thick blade. I had a forged Calphalon parer that was basically a Wusthof Classic knockoff, and even when sharp it was not as good dicing shallots as a cheap stamped Victorinox. My new favorite knife for tiny dicing is a stamped, wooden handled 4.5" Japanese "fruit knife" I picked up for $6 at a local hardware store - including a wooden sheath. Very thin, and takes a keen edge.

MT

---------------

Matt T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found, too, that if the onion or shallot is a little past its' prime, the middle tends to "squirt" out. I also applaud Chez Cherie's suggestion of the 'handle'. Makes sense to me!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...