I was cutting some fennel for a salad tonight and looking for the sweet spot or angle that makes it the most tender and flavorful. Are there other vegetables that are best when cut at a certain angle other than for presentation?
I cut an onion very differently depending on the dish. Same with carrots. Stir fry vs. stew, very different cut. I think it goes beyond presentation and into texture, which is part of flavor. To me, it’s as important as smell.
Welcome to the forum, zigzag.
As already said, size of the piece is dependent on how it’s going to be used - fine dice or bug chunks, for instance.
But, for flavour, I tend to cut long veg, like carrots or courgettes, on the diagonal. I may be fooling myself but I think I detect extra flavour from each piece because the surface area has been increased.
Not so much a cut, but I find that if you are using cucumbers in a cucumber salad I prefer them de-seeded and ripped and smashed, then just sliced. This is true even of the smaller Persian or Japanese cucumbers. Cucumbers are too watery, and when just sliced, I don’t find any dressing or seasoning clings to it well. When it’s smashed, the rough cuts and edges pick up on tangy or savory dressings and sauces much better.
I de-seed cucumbers when I use them in a salad - i.e. cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then slice. Otherwise they’re too watery (except in cucumber and onion deli salad, of course. Whether I peel them, score the outside with fork tines, or leave them alone depends on the cucumber, and my mood.
I’m also a cucumber deseeder, usually cutting into four along the length and then chopping into chunks. But, for Yorkshire Salad, to accompany roast beef, slice into half moons to roughly match the onion.
Onions are the only one that I can think of. Cut Pole to Pole/Frenched(with the structure) the will stay intact but cut into half-moons (against the structure)they will fall apart when cooking.
Welcome to HO
I think you are asking about cutting orientation. I think so, but many people don’t think about it quite like slicing meat. Slicing vegetable along its main fiber vs slicing vegetable across its main fiber will have an effort. This can affect the texture and how the vegetables break down under heat too.
I think the best illustration is the daikon threads. Depending on cutting along vs across the fibers, the resulting daikon threads can be softer or harder.
I find this to be true of onions as well. I took a class and learned a “feather cut”, but my family did not like the texture in our family favorite frittata.
Garlic. The smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor will be. A paste of garlic will be much more pungent than sliced.
I had to look up Yorkshire salad. The version I saw with just cucumber and onion (and vinegar, perhaps a little sugar) - is what I think of as deli cucumber salad - with the generous addition of snipped dill, of course. It never lasts long in my fridge; it’s irresistible. I dilute the vinegar a bit.
Where are my manners? Welcome aboard, Zigzag.
I do the same with carrots, John. I feel you get more out of the carrot. Probably more illusion and suggestion, but it tastes better to me.
I bet if you think a bit more there are others you might cut differently as well. I though “just onions” when I first responded. Garlic, like Jen said. Now I remember that I sometimes plane garlic, other times I just rough chop it, other times (when I make the best rice ever) I cut long slivers so you come across those soft garlic slivers when you’re eating the rice. Rutabaga/swedes , turnips, etc, I cut differently depending on where they’re going. Even plantains I cut differently, depending.
Thanks. I just read the article. I didn’t know about this feather cut. Even if your family dislike this texture, it does make a point. Different cuts can result in different texture.
They disliked it in the frittata, but like it in cold preps.
The family version, which I got from Mum, is exactly that. Just cucumber, onion and vinegar. Malt vinegar, mind. None of yer fancy foreign wine vinegar.
I have malt vinegar!!
Deal done. Both cuke and onion heed to be sliced in fairly thin half rounds - but not overly thin,you want a bit of crunch. Then cover in malt vinegar and leave to steep for an hour or so, then serve alongside roast beef. Leftover salad works well with a beef sandwich next day - but drain the vinegar thoroughly as you don’t want a wet sandwich. Enjoy.
By the by, I’ve never been able to find the origin of why it’s called Yorkshire Salad. Other than it must have originally been popular in the county
The site I found a picture and a description of the salad was a Yorkshire site, but alas no explanation of the origin of the name, either.
True, that applies to most Herbs and Spices as well. Crushing, grinding, chopping all change the flavor in the end Dish.
Since the post said “Vegetables” that is what I focused on( not too well), Garlic and Ginger were big omissions.