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Here are five of the most common terms for ways of cutting foods that should demystify these terms for everyone.
To mince means to chop into extremely tiny bits. Most often one minces garlic, as an example. This allows the strongly flavored bulb to be distributed evenly throughout a dish. Mincing any vegetable will take a longer time, as the chopping motions must continue until all the pieces are uniformly small. Fresh herbs are often minced before adding to food. Mincing is used when the desire is to distribute flavors without marring the visual effect, or as with the garlic, to distribute flavors most evenly. A garlic press will approximate the fineness of mincing garlic, though most professional chefs do not use a press.
To julienne means to slice into long strips of very uniform matchstick shape and size. There are tools out there these days that can help to make quick work of julienning vegetables such as carrot or zucchini, among others. If julienning by hand, take the vegetable, such as a carrot, cut 3 to 4 inch lengths and slice each piece lengthwise into thin, even slices. Stack 3 or more of these thin slices together and again slice lengthwise through the stack, creating very thin matchsticks of the vegetable. These little sticks are often about 3 or more inches long, and can be added to a salad or a stir fry or wherever desired.
This term is most often applied to leafy foods, such as herbs or spinach or other leafy vegetables. It involves taking the leaves and stacking a lot of them together and then rolling the stack into a cigar like shape. While holding that roll steady with one hand, take your knife and slice across the cigar shape in very narrow slices. What you will have at the end are literally threadlike pieces of the food. A chiffonade of basil leaves is most wonderful on a Caprese Salad of tomato and mozzarella slices. A chiffonade of spinach or kale would be excellent tossed into a stir fry at the last minute.