We’re no Zen masters, but doesn’t it seem that somewhere between every large and every small there lies a happy medium?
Step 1: Wash & peel Wash and peel the vegetable, if necessary.
Step 2: 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 3: Hold vegetable With your non-knife-wielding hand, hold the vegetable firmly on the cutting board close to the area you will cut.
TIP: Curl your fingers so that the tips are firmly planted on the vegetable and the knuckles point outward—in the food world, this is called the 'claw grip.'
Step 4: Cut off ends Cut off the ends of the vegetable.
TIP: When cutting soft foods such as tomatoes, do not apply any downward pressure to the knife—this can squash the food. Let the sharpness of the blade do the work by moving the knife back and forth until you have cut cleanly through.
Step 5: Cut off sides Cut off the sides of the vegetable. It should now resemble a block with 4 long flat surfaces—this will make it easier to cut uniform pieces.
Step 6: Slice lengthwise For a medium dice cut, you are aiming to make dice, or cubes, that are ½ inch on every side. Begin by slicing the vegetable lengthwise into uniform slabs ½ inch wide.
TIP: Keep the point of the knife on the board and use a steady rocking motion to slice—not saw—the vegetable with the full length of the blade.
Step 7: Stack & cut Stack the slabs on top of each other and again cut them lengthwise into ½ inch wide sticks. You now have a 'wood pile' of ½ inch-thick sticks.
Step 8: Make crosscuts Line up the pile of sticks, and make ½ inch crosscuts along their length, creating ½ inch cubes. That’s a medium dice.
FACT: The medium dice cut is a favorite of chefs for use in soup stocks and garnishes.