Cut­ting itf ine

Eat­ing more veg means know­ing how to prep it bet­ter. Take two min­utes to up­grade your five-a-day

Men's Fitness - - Fuel | Chef Skills -

If your fruit and veg in­take starts and stops at a ba­nana with your break­fast por­ridge and a lunchtime jacket potato, it’s time to fix up and look sharp. By learn­ing to pre­pare dif­fer­ent greens faster you’ll ex­pand both your op­tions and your palate. What’s more, you only need to learn a hand­ful of easy tech­niques to feel like a pro at the chop­ping board – and Miche­lin-starred chef Adam Gray is here to take you through them.

ONIONS HALVE AND DICE

You prob­a­bly chop more onions than al­most any­thing else, so you might as well get the tech­nique right. “Chop off the ‘nose’ – the bit at the op­po­site of the stem – then slice it in half, right through the stem, and peel off the skin,” says Gray. Now the tricky bit. “Put the onion half flat on the board and press down with the flat of your hand as you slice through it, with the blade par­al­lel to the board.” Now make a few ver­ti­cal in­ci­sions along the length of the onion, and fi­nally cut per­pen­dic­u­lar to those to get a fine dice.

Cook them for a few min­utes in a pan, with oil or but­ter, to kick off al­most any stew or casse­role recipe. Or don’t – red onions are nat­u­rally sweeter, so you can put them in salads raw.

PEP­PERS TOP, CHOP AND ROLL

There’s an easy way to take out all the seeds and ribs, with min­i­mal has­sle. First, slice off the top and bot­tom, then make a ver­ti­cal slice down the pep­per so you can open it up. Put it skin-side down and work the knife along the in­side with your blade par­al­lel to the work sur­face, re­mov­ing the ex­tra­ne­ous bits as you go. Now chop it into strips or chunks.

Cook them in scram­bled eggs, omelettes or stir-fries – or you can eat them raw.

LEEKS SLICE THEM EASY

“You need a very sharp knife for this,” says Gray. “If it’s blunt the fi­bres get jagged, which means you’ll lose nu­tri­ents in the cook­ing process.” Pull off the outer layer, then use your finest blade to halve your leek by slic­ing it down the mid­dle, mak­ing a half-cylin­der. Now slice it as finely as pos­si­ble. “Peo­ple throw away too much of the leek, be­cause the green bits seem too tough af­ter they’re cooked,” says Gray. “But that’s be­cause they’re not slic­ing it fine enough.”

Cook them in a dash of rape­seed oil, with some chorizo or salami for the sim­plest of side dishes.

CAB­BAGE BET­TER OFF SHRED

You can use more of the outer leaves than you think, if you use the tech­nique known as “chif­fonad­ing”. Re­move any ob­vi­ously dam­aged leaves and cut the cab­bage in half and then into quar­ters. Cut off the hard core from each quar­ter at an an­gle, then tear off the leaves and roll them up into cigar shapes to fine-chop them. With a well-de­signed knife, the eas­i­est way is to “roll” it: keep the very tip of the blade on the cut­ting board and rock it back­wards and for­wards as you feed the cab­bage through with your other hand.

Cook them with sausages and lentils for healthy com­fort food – or just chuck them in a salad.

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