A mandoline is a kitchen utensil that helps chefs and home cooks prepare fruits and vegetables into different shapes: slices, wafer-thin wedges or juliennes. The utensil is typically made up of a plate of wood, metal or plastic with blades fitted into it. It’s similar to a knife, in that it is placed in front of the food and then cut with the hand. But a mandoline can be more precise than a knife, particularly when cutting items with higher water content, such as tomatoes, or when a chef needs uniformity in thickness in order to achieve certain aesthetics or cooking times.
Though intimidating at first, a well-made mandoline isn’t any more complicated to use than a kitchen knife. And it’s essential for creating ethereal shaved salads, shredding cabbage for coleslaw or ensuring evenly thin potato slices for a family-style potato gratin.
In addition to providing a uniform look, a mandoline also makes it easier to make crispy and flavorful vegetable chips. The key is slicing the veggies paper thin and then seasoning them (try kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, curry or smoked paprika). You can even experiment with crinkle cuts.
Because a mandoline has one job, it’s important to keep in mind safety tips when using it. For starters, it is best to slice foods from the back of a person’s body rather than from the left or right. This will prevent the person from accidentally injuring themselves with the blade and will ensure that any sliced foods fall off and aren’t left on the utensil. It’s also important to clean the mandoline after each use, so that food doesn’t build up and clog the blades, causing it to jam. mandoline