Cutting Duxelles

The idea of cutting is easy if you maintain a clear and well defined organisation and process and take the time for organisation before you begin. My knife suffers from the salty water in Mykonos but at your city home it shouldn’t be an issue and if it does you need to clean it, or sharpen it with a high wet stone grit of 5000 or more.

The idea of creating a same size cut is key to the extraction of flavour in any sauce: in 1926 a biologist named Haldane wrote an essay on “being the right size”, this essay surface, volume and the interaction with heat and pressure and other natural forces.

I always maintain my knife in Position #1 which is perpendicular to my body and always at the top of whatever I cut, so always above the vegetables to avoid any cut. The reason is because Japanese knives are uber sharp and if a knife tumbles you will suffer tremendous damage.

The same cut requires some practice and you can see the carrot strip have some tension so they do not always stay straight after being cut. But that’s not a problem and they key is to cut in tranches and cut only 20 carrot strips at one time and avoid cutting all at one time.

You have various names to describe cutting in small parts or dicing (finely chopped) which is named Duxelles in French, and I think more about mirepoix, small controlled cuts and Duxelles as more random chopping something a rarely do. But you can do either and the reason I rarely use Duxelles is because when you magnify the chopped food the food particles are not cut the same and therefore when you impart heat they all cook at different speeds.

This means some will cook more quickly and others slower, and some will even burn or over cook. The result is less control over the recipe’s ingredients. That is seen as good for some and for others less desirable, so you choose when you start to cut and remember each recipe has a different horizon. That means you can choose either depending on what you consider important. And consider your teeth and mastication is about how we taste so babies without teeth need mashed food and adults (with teeth) should have something to cut.

And bear in mind when using a Japanese knife there is no teeter-tottering with the knife on the and the heel, I use an improvised samurai stroke, not joking, a single stroke at a time, and you have full control otherwise forget it and stick to duxelles.

Carrot strips before cutting mirepoix

This is for sauce and is referred to as a mirepoix cut and you have zucchini, carrot and onion
Onion ready for cutting mirepoix to be added to the vegetable for filling of stuffed peppers