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May 10, 2012 - COOKING LESSONS FROM EAT WELL 101

Cooking Fast: Essential Knives to Be Efficient and Fast in the Kitchen

how to use kitchen knives - basic kitchen knives sets

When you learn to cook in a cooking class or a culinary school, the first cookings lessons are almost always about how to recognize and learn to use the various knives and utensils for cooking. Regarding knives, there are from different sizes with short or long blades, wide or narrow, hard or flexible… Each kitchen knife has a specific main use.

Learning how to use kitchen knives is very important if you want to be efficient and fast in a kitchen. You also have to know how to maintain and sharpen your knife set. Basic knife skills allow you to save time, do quality work and limit the risks of wounds.

With a bit of training and a good cutting board, it is possible to do a lot of things with the basic knifes.

The paring knife

Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife - how to use a paring knife

Paring knife

The paring knife is useful to peel vegetables and legumes that you don’t peel with a normal peeler. You also use it to cut and trim vegetables. It is a very versatile knife because of its small size and handiness; you can make accurate cuts or take out nerves from meat.

learn to peel a lemon using a paring knife

Peeling a lemon with a paring knife

basic knife skills: how to remove tomato stalk with a paring knife

Removing a tomato stalk with a paring knife

kitchen knife skills: slice mushrooms using a paring knife

Slicing mushrooms using a paring knife

how to slice shallots with paring knife

Using a paring knife to slice shallots

You will also use it to:

  • Peel a lemon
  • Remove the stalk of a tomato
  • Slice mushrooms
  • Slice shallots
  • Seed peppers
  • Carve vegetables for decoration purposes

The fillet knife

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Flexible Blade Fillet Knife

Flexible blade fillet knife

The fillet knife has a long, thin and flexible blade which is mainly used to raise small or medium-sized fish fillets. You can also use it to finely mince onions or shallots. It is also useful to make delicate cuts. The flexible blade allows a clean and accurate cut, thus limiting waste when filleting fish or scallops.

how to use a filleting knife

The flexible blade of a fillet knife

how to raise fillets on a flat fish with a filleting knife

Filleting a flat fish with a fillet knife

how to fillet a red mullet with a fillet knife

Using a fillet knife to fillet a round fish

how to fillet a bream with a fillet knife

Filleting a small bream ( flat fish with 2 fillets )

With a fillet knife you can also:

  • Raise a 4 fillets flat fish (eg. a sole fish)
  • Fillet a round fish like a red mullet
  • Raise a 2 fillets flat fish like a sea bream
  • Cut thin slices of eggplant
  • Cut orange or citrus supremes
learn to slice eggplants with a filleting knife

Slicing eggplant with a fillet knife

knife skills: how to cut orange supremes with a fillet knife

Cutting orange supremes with a fillet knife

See more fillet knives on amazon

The chef knife

how to use a chef knife - basic knife skills

Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife

The chef’s knife is the kitchen knife we use to mince and cut vegetables. Its blade is medium to long and can be more or less stiff. The chef’s knife is useful for certain preliminary preparation of meats, poultry or fish.

how to mince leeks with a chef's knife

Mincing leeks with a chef’s knife

cooking knives skills: how to cut onions with a chef's knife

Mincing an onion using a chef’s knife

learn how to cut poultry with a chef knife

Cutting a chicken with a chef’s knife

knife skills: how to cut a raw rabbit

Cutting a rabbit with a chef’s knife

You’ll use the chef’s knife to:

  • Mince leeks
  • Mince onion
  • Remove chicken’s spinal bone
  • Cut a raw rabbit or poultry

The boning knife

Fischer Bargoin 5-1/2-Inch Boning Knife Classic with 4 Rivets

Stainless steel boning knife

As its name suggests, the boning knife is used to bone pieces of meat or cut raw poultry. The blade is short and very stiff.

knifes basics skills: how to use a boning knife

Using a boning knife to prepare a lamb shoulder

cooking lessons: how to use a boning knife to carve artichoke

Cutting artichoke with a boning knife

You’ll need the boning knife to:

  • Bone a lamb shoulder
  • Bone a lamb spine
  • Cut a raw rabbit
  • Carve or trim various vegetables like artichokes

Vegetable peelers

how to use a vegetable peeler

Vegetable peeler set

Vegetable peelers exist in different shapes. They are are all used to peel vegetables.

 

how to peel asparagus with a vegetable peeler

Peeling asparagus with a vegetable peeler

how to grate parmesan - stainless steel vegetable peeler

Using a vegetable peeler to grate or make thin slices of cheese

You can use a vegetable peeler to:

  • Peel carrots and potato skin
  • Peel asparagus
  • Make thin slices of parmesan

If you have all of these, you will be set with the basic knives you should need in your kitchen. Please add your favorite knife and tell us what you use it for in the comments below.

May 10, 2012
E. Brandy
Lifestyle editor
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