Julienne is a French cooking term used to describe a method of cutting vegetables into matchsticks. We most commonly see this cut in our beloved French fries, fajitas and salads. Maybe you’ve even applied this method and didn’t even know the culinary term. Below I’ll show you step-by-step how to Julienne vegetables.
Tip # 1 Use a sharp knife. A dull knife won’t cut through much of anything and you’re more prone to having an accident with a dull knife because it can slip while you force it.
Tip # 2 Tuck your finger tips inward (toward your palm) as you hold the vegetable in place. Many nicks and scratches or cuts happen because the finger tips are exposed. The knife should be up against your knuckles when cutting, that will be your guide. If your finger tips are tucked in, you’re less likely to cut yourself.
In my example below, I’m using a red bell pepper, but the technique applies to any vegetable. Start by trimming and peeling the vegetable, as needed. Here I trimmed the top, bottom and inside ribs. Unlike carrots, bell peppers don’t need to be peeled, so that step didn’t apply.
Cut the vegetable into manageable sections and pieces. Then make thin and even cuts into each piece until your vegetable has been completely sliced. It’s fairly simple as long as you have a good knife and you protect your finger tips.
SLICING ROUND VEGETABLES
If you are slicing a round vegetable such as a carrot, cut the carrot across the center into manageable sections. The sections should equal the desired length of your matchstick. Now you need to slice the sections into 3-4 flats. Cut a flat piece off the bottom so you can securely lay the carrot flat on the cutting board. Cut the remaining round carrot sections into 3-4 flat pieces and cut each of the flat pieces into matchsticks.
Note: You always want to stabilize anything you’re cutting since cutting a round object can be tricky and hazardous. How often have we seen professional chefs cut themselves in cooking competitions? It can happen to anyone.