How to dice onions

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Minced, diced or finely chopped. However you describe them, onions are a staple of just about every savory recipe. Learn the fast and easy way to prepare diced onions from Marc Bauer, Master Chef at the renowned French Culinary Institute.

How to dice onions
  1. Peel onion, cut in half.
  2. Lay the flat side of one half the onion on your cutting board with the root end away from you.
  3. Use either a paring knife or a utility knife. (The utility knife is slightly longer and it is handy because you have more reach with it.)
  4. Take the onion to the edge of the cutting board and anchor it with the palm of your non-cutting hand. (Use the palm of your hand so that your fingers are away from the knife -- out of harm's way!)
  5. Make a series of horizontal cuts, closely spaced together. Don't cut through the root, as the root is what's holding your onion together.
  6. Then do vertical cuts. Cut just enough to slice through most of the onion. You can pull back the onion a little bit to expose more of it.
  7. Rotate the onion a quarter turn.
  8. Use a chef’s knife and the same cutting technique that you would when slicing an onion -- place the point of the knife down in front of the onion, and move your knife forward and down. Slice through it and you have nice dices. You can continue to use your paring or utility knife, but a longer Chef's knife makes this step easier. Note: The key cutting technique here is to slide the blade across the cutting board and through the onion so that you're slicing the onion rather than crushing down on it while cutting. (By cutting rather than crushing the onion, you do less damage to the onion's cell structure, and reduce the enzymes that are released. This is what causes eye irritation. Never touch your eyes after handling onions, and try to cut them in a well-ventilated space. You can also wear goggles.)
  9. You can use exactly the same technique on a shallot or garlic clove: Cut in half, make horizontal slices, then vertical slices, rotate a quarter turn, and use a chef’s knife as if slicing.
Transcript Hi. My name is Marc Bauer. I’m from the French Culinary Institute, and I would like to show you how I finely dice an onion.

For this I can use either a paring knife or a utility knife. You can see it’s slightly longer. The way it comes in handy is that you can have more reach with it. So what you do is, first you take the onion to the edge of the cutting board and you make horizontal cuts, but you don’t cut through the roots. Remember the root is what’s holding the onion together. I like to put the palm of my hand so my fingers get away from it.

Once you did the horizontal cuts, I do a vertical cuts.  Just enough to cut through most of the onion. Maybe pull back the onions a little bit. And there you go. Then, once I’m here I do a quarter turn and will use a chef’s knife. And I do the same technique slicing an onion, meaning pointing the knife down. Forward, forward and down. Slice through it and you have nice dices. You can use exactly the same technique on the shallot, or garlic. That means cut in half, do the horizontal slice, vertical, quarter turn, and use a chef’s knife. You got it.
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  • Marc Bauer

    Marc Bauer Master Chef, French Culinary Institute Marc Bauer is a Master Chef and Roundsman at the renowned French Culinary Institute and its popular L'Ecole Restaurant in New York City. more about this expert »

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