Watch: How to very, very, very finely chop an onion



I still don’t get it. I don’t want my food so finely pureed it loses all texture. I’d rather see bits of onion in my risotto, and lumps in my mashed potatoes.



I agree. I’m not a fan of BIG bits of onion like what some people do, but its nice to know theres onion there

I use a mandoline to dice stuff for mirepoix which works really nicely. I even still have the most of my fingertips left.


If you want it to melt when you sweat it, why not take half as long and just use the box grater?


Another person who beats me to the punch. I’m constantly complaining to restaurants that they chop the veggies too fine. I tell them “It looks like the green peppers came out of a tube, a bag”.

They reply that cooking school teaches them that small, uniform size makes for quick, consistent cooking. ‘So what?’, is my reply.

In a pizza, for example, if the pizza topping is too uniform (because the pieces are cut too small), after two or three bites, you really can’t taste anything. However if, on one bite, you get a bit more pepper, the next a bit more salami, the third a bit more bacon, then each bite wakes up your palate.

/the knuckle is what the knife is rubbing against, not the nail.


Onion chopping demo. GREAT radio bit.


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This reminds me of something you might find useful, especially now that we’re getting into matzo ball soup season.

The way to make ersatz schmaltz (say that 5 times quickly!) which will do amazing things for your VEGAN matzo balls, and soups in general, is to chop onions as finely as possible and saute them using Earth Balance or other vegan margarine on the lowest possible setting until they are crispy. Put the result in a strainer: you can use the crispy onions bits left in the strainer too, of course, but what drains into the bowl underneath will have the taste and consistence of schmaltz (chicken fat).

With that you can veganize a lot of Ashkenazi recipes and still get the traditional taste.

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I’m not a fan of minuscule onion mince, but a box grater is even worse. Either the holes are fairly large and you end up with shreds of onions, or they’re small and you end up with watery onion paste. In either case, the damage to the onions as they are shredded by fairly blunt holes wrecks havoc on their later integrity, and they just form onion water in the pan, as opposed to the structurally-sound dice of whatever size when using a knife.

…at least, that’s my experience.

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Obviously it all depends on what you’re cooking. For example, if I’m making bangers, mash peas and gravy, I like my potato a bit lumpy too, the lumps give the potato some contrast to the mushy peas, and some structure to squish against the sausages. If however I’m making a cooking a fine piece of steak, with some delicious dutch carrots and a parsnip potato mash, the recipe will work better with a nice creamy, smooth and light puree mash. In this case its because the contrasting textures between the firmer carrots, slightly chewy steak and puree all compliment each other.

In Marco’s case, the texture of the onion isn’t going to add anything to a risotto, which is all about the texture of the rice, and flavours the rice absorbs; so if his method releases the flavour of the onion better it will be a better dish. Given his reputation I’ll just assume his risotto’s are pretty damn exceptional.

As I said above it is all about what you’re cooking, and what ingredients you want to emphasise. Pizza isn’t risotto, smallish chunks of onion aren’t going to provide any noticeable contrast to risotto rice, and in larger chunks the flavours won’t be as good.


Right on cue, the NY Times had an article yesterday (after my post, I swear!) about schmaltz:

Schmaltz Finds a New, Younger Audience

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