Chopping Fresh Herbs

April 11, 2013

Before I leave the topic of fresh herbs, I wanted to mention a few things about their preparation. Fresh herbs add a complexity of taste to a dish that is hard to match with dried herbs. But their size and shape can make them time consuming to prep.

With a few pointers, you can prep like the pros.

 
•  First, remove the leaves from the stem and discard it. To remove the leaves, hold the top of the stem in one hand, and then starting near the top of the stem use your other hand to strip back the leaves moving down the stem, against the grain.
 
•  Once you have the leaves off, bunch them together as tightly as you can. With larger leaves like basil, rolling them (sort of like a cigar) works best.
 
•  Hold the packed leaves with one hand, and then use a nice, sharp knife to chop through them, working from one side of the bunch to the other. Keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board and just rotate the angle so you get through all of herbs. If you need a finer chop, repeat the same process, and you’re good to go
 
Don’t tell my staff I said this, but kitchen scissors also work fine to snip small amounts of most fresh herbs. If you need a quantity of very finely minced herbs, a good food processor works well, too.
 

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