Saturday, June 17, 2006

Technique: How to slice an onion (and a cantaloupe)

Knowing how to cut various fruits and vegetables quickly and with little mess/fuss/waste is a great life skill to have, and essential if you want to cook often. So, here's the first in a series of photo posts on how to cut stuff up [clicking on the pictures will take you to a larger version].

Note that I'm not talking specifically about "knife skills" because mine are horrible (please don't copy my hand position), but more of a "how to approach vegetable/fruit X" sort of thing.

Today I'm doing two: starting off with the onion, because nearly every recipe I make has onion in it somewhere, and then doing a cantaloupe, because I happened to buy one today.

Start by cutting the pointed top of the onion off. Next, cut the onion in half, through the cut off top and down through the root, so that you are cutting across the onion's rings.

( Read more... ) The halves should look like this when you're done:

Remove the papery outer layers of the onion at this point. Now, cut each half into small wedges, but don't cut all the way through to the root. Leaving a little space between the cut and the root will hold the onion together while you're cutting and make your life much easier.

If you want larger wedges of onion, for a curry or stir fry or something, cut the root end off now. Otherwise...

Cut across the onion as in the pictures. You can vary the size of the cut as appropriate; this particular onion went into some delicious salsa.

Next up: cantaloupe. Since melons are supposedly very much in season, we picked one up at our grocery store today. I eat most fruit raw, so I just cut the cantaloupe into chunks.

The first step is to cut the melon in half, starting at the 'bellybutton' at the top. Then, using a sharp-edged scooping device (like a measuring tablespoon or an ice cream scoop), remove the seeds. Next, cut the cantaloupe into wedges - I find it helps to tilt the melon a bit so you don't have to hold the knife at too much of an angle.

Once you have all your wedges, cut notches into the flesh of each one - down to the rind but not through it. This lets you sort of spread the wedge flat. Now, slide your knife along the rind, and voila! Perfect chunks of cantaloupe.

You can, of course, skip this step if you like the wedges.

I have to say, there's really something to this 'peak season produce' thing. This was definitely one of the best cantaloupes I have ever had (tip for identifying a ripe melon - smell its bellybutton! If you are overwhelemed by melon scent, it's ready to go). I might have to go back tomorrow to get another; perhaps a cold soup is in order? It's been friggin HOT here lately.


Anonymous said...

I like cantelope, but it makes my mouth itch sometimes. The green melon - I forgot what it's called - tastes good too, and it doesn't make my mouth itch as bad. I can't each too much of either though, unless I mix it up with a nice contrast-of-flavor fruit like blueberries or something; then I can eat that stuff ALL DAY LONG! WHEWWWWW!

Anonymous said...

There is only one other thing I rather eat than fresh cantaloupe.

Anonymous said...

I like to eat pussy and penis.