No, it's not some old-timey dance step. Or something draped over the lights in a brothel. Chiffonade is a technique used to cut leafy vegetables and herbs into slender ribbons.
Step 1: Wash vegetable Wash the vegetable or herb, cutting off any stems that are still attached.
Step 2: Stack leaves Stack a handful of leaves on top of each other.
TIP: If you're using basil, stack up about 8 leaves at a time; for leafy greens, stack about 3 leaves.
Step 3: Hold stack Roll the stack up tightly and hold it horizontally on the board in front of you with one hand.
Step 4: Grasp knife Grasp the knife in your dominant hand, holding the handle close to the blade with three fingers: your middle, ring, and pinkie. Curl your forefinger around one side of the blade while holding your thumb on the opposite side.
Step 5: Hold roll Hold the roll with your non-knife-wielding hand close to the area you will cut.
TIP: Curl your fingers so that the tips are firmly planted on the roll and the knuckles point outward—in the food world, this is called the 'claw grip.'
Step 6: Slice on angle Starting at one end, make thin slices with your knife at a 60-degree angle to the roll. Make the slices about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch apart—creating very slender ribbons.
TIP: When cutting, be sure to keep your fingers tucked in from the blade and allow your knuckles to guide the blade across the roll.
Step 7: Add more greens If you need more greens, stack, roll, and cut another handful of leaves until you have enough for your garnish.
FACT: The word chiffonade comes from the French for 'made of rags.'