Friday, October 7, 2011

The Only Kitchen Knives You'll Ever Need...

Photo: François Roy, La Presse

You cook a little, a lot, passionately? Make sure you look for quality before quantity. Before investing, know that your needs are probably easier met than you might think: you can cook everything with five knives. Take a look here:


1-The Chef's Knife
The name says it all, it's the Chef’s best friend. This one comes out when we have a recipe that involves cutting vegetables into julienne strips, dicing, slicing, and chopping herbs. This is the one where you will lose more time if the blade is not sharp and will probably invest the most. "It’s the purchase of a lifetime!” Always try before you buy: Make sure the handle is comfortable and appropriate for the size of your hand, its weight is well balanced and the tip height is sufficient enough to avoid your fingers touching the board at each movement. If your budget allows, take a forged knife that continues into the handle. This knife will be stronger and better balanced (from 100 euros). 

2-The Bread Knife
This knife goes up against the worst offenders: fat (pastries) and hardness (frozen bread). You can afford to save - a bit - but to save your fingers, we would choose a blade firm enough not to deviate from its path when cutting a crusty loaf, or worse, out of the freezer.
Large rounded teeth are also a measure of quality. Small teeth do not sharpen enough. Count about 40 euros.

3-The Fillet Knife
It's a must for all fish lovers. Its blade is long enough (about 20cm), narrow and very flexible to gently lift the filets without losing an ounce of flesh. But carnivores will appreciate it too. Its flexibility allows you to go along the bones and make very precise cuts, such as rack of lamb. If you plan to use it for meat, opt for a model with a shorter blade and less flexible. In any case, if you have wet hands using it, make sure the handle is polycarbonate.

4-The Boning Knife
Jonathan Garnier, of the Culinary Guild, recommends the traditional Boning Knife, with a rather short blade (15 cm maximum) slightly flexible and easy to handle. "We can save money by buying a piece of meat and preparing the parts yourself." We must therefore have a certain know-how ."Unless you are a hunter or like to work with whole game, we can do without,". You can also opt for a slicer, a reduced size copy of the Chef's Knife.

5-The Paring Knife 
The Chef’s "second" best friend ? With its small sharp blade of about 10 cm, fairly thin and rigid, the paring knife helps all manipulations too precise for the Chef's Knife: peel an apple, remove core, cut into quarters. Prefer a water resistant, plastic handle. "And not too long a blade, advises Jonathan Garnier, the Culinary Guild, which allows you to handle the knife from the center for the more accurate work." From 10 euros.
The Tradition
Customs dictates that one does not offer a knife so as not to "cut" the bonds of friendship or love with the person who receives it. But one can easily ward off bad fate by offering some money to buy the knife. One cent is enough! 

Sharp Advice!
To keep those blades sharpened:

- Never use a knife to push food on the cutting board.

- Never place knives in the dishwasher.

- Never cut bone or frozen products.
Instead, keep an "old" knife of poor quality for such tasks.

- Never wait to clean the blade - especially if it was used to cut acidic foods - with a little hot water and soap (as needed).

- Never use a glass cutting boards and granite that are too hard. Prefer wood, not too firm or too soft, and very resistant.

- Never use to cut cardboard, plastic or Styrofoam.

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