How to chiffonade

October 17th, 2008 by megan · 3 Comments

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The word “chiffonade” in French means “made from rags”, which doesn’t sound terribly appetizing. In the food world, chiffonade is a method of slicing the leaves of herbs or other vegetables into thin strips or shreds, which is quite appetizing, actually. Chiffonade is a nice little technique to know – you can easily fancify a tomato salad by chiffonading some basil on top. Or chiffonade kale next time you sauté it – each strip will be approximately the same size and will therefore cook more evenly. Plus it looks pretty. Just make sure that when you chiffonade large leaves (again, kale comes to mind) that you cut the chiffonaded strips in half so your guests don’t have giant strings of vegetable hanging down their chin at the dinner table. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

You’ll need:
Large-ish leaves of some sort (basil, sage, cabbage, kale, collards, beet greens, etc. – the leaves need to be large enough that you will be able to roll them into a cigar or cigarette shape)
A very sharp knife


1. Stack your leaves of choice on top of one another. Don’t make the stack too big, otherwise the next step (rolling) will be a little tricky.

2. Roll the stack of leaves into a tight cigarette or cigar shape.

3. Slice the roll horizontally. The fineness of your chiffonade will depend on how closely together you make each slice.

4. Keep slicing until you reach the end of your leaf roll.

5. Pick up your finished pile of chiffonaded leaves and “fluff” them – this will separate each strip and will make your chiffonade look pretty.


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