If you see a dish prepared by a world-renowned chef, you’ll notice that the plate is perfectly crafted. This is because professional chefs require the skills to perform the cut precisely. Mastering a few knife cuts will give you the confidence to take any recipe. That said, proper knife skills are one of the finest arts in every chef’s arsenal. One of the important steps in the culinary world is mastering the batonnet cut. This skill makes a big difference in the ease of cooking.
What Is a Batonnet Cut?
This is a special type of cut that is typically ¼-inch by ¼-inch by 3 inches long. Batonnet is a French culinary term that refers to a small stick. It’s common in preparing potatoes, carrot sticks, crudités, stir-fries, and French fries. This is the same technique you’d use to make vegetable sticks for dips or as a side dish. It’s also perfect for smaller cuts like the mince, fine julienne, and small to medium dice.
To perform an accurate batonnet cut, you must have the right ingredients. The two common foods are carrots and potatoes.
The batonnet technique gives you a linear appeal when serving food. It comes in handy when serving your food in salads and skewers. Here are the reasons why you should choose the batonnet technique:
A proper batonnet enhances your food presentation. It’s perfect for making garnishes and serving roasting vegetables. If you’re serving salads, you can place a nice slice of dish for added effect. Besides presentation, you get a better mouthful. This explains why the cutting technique is used in a lot of snacks and appetizers. It’s more of a three-dimensional look.
Preparing your vegetables with a batonnet takes time. When you have uniform sizes, you can submerge the veggies in the oil when sautéing. It’s a surefire way to cook food evenly without worrying about the ingredients.
When you cut ingredients of the same size, everything will cook at the same speed. Once you master the art, you’ll get a lot of fun. You’ll enjoy the rough edges, skin, and loop-sized curves.
If you plan to serve your food on skewers, a batonnet cut is a great option. When you have a set of ingredients, you can buy in bulk without worrying about how you’ll keep the cut veggies.
The Tools You Need to Make a Batonnet Cut
If you need the perfect cut, you must get the right tools.
The shape of the knife you use will affect the outcome of your cuts. The last thing you want is incorrect or jagged cuts. A typical chef’s knife offers the best results. You should stay away from knives that can result in accidents. To ensure the perfect cut, you should invest in a chef’s knife that is 6 to14 inches long.
To slice and dice with ease, you should hold the knife comfortably with your thumb, and the other three fingers are wrapped securely on the handle. The other hand should anchor the vegetables.
You need a bowl that is wide enough to hold your contents and keep the pieces inside. Perhaps, you should consider a bowl with straight sides to make the portioning easier. You can also use a plate with a non-porous surface or a clean counter space.
A quality board guarantees a clean and accurate cut. Unlike the plastic counterparts, a wooden material won’t dull. The best board is easier on knives and should fit well with the aesthetics of your kitchen. Your cutting board should lay flat on the counter.
How to Batonnet (Step by Step)
To ensure the best outcome with the cuts, there’s a specific way this should be done. You should also follow the step-by-step process.
As with any other cutting technique, you should wash your hands and ensure the chopping board is not moist. Next, wash all the ingredients thoroughly.
Hold the knife with the dominant hand such that the pointing finger is at the top of the blade. The grip will give you more control, especially if you’re getting used to this cutting technique. You should use the other hand to anchor the vegetables.
You can now cut in a smooth and gentle motion – not brutal force. Start at the base and drag the knife towards the top.
Then, cut crosswise 2.5-inch pieces. Once the long sticks are ready, it’s easy to perform the dicing across the length of the initial cut. Proper cutting skills require extensive experience. It takes practice for a chef to know how to be as precise as possible on each cut.
Next, take each piece and cut ¼-inch, leaving you with rectangular pieces. You can cut each rectangle individually or stack them together. In the end, you’ll have a good amount of batonnet ingredients ready for eating.
Learning how to cut a batonnet is one of the earliest culinary training. However, it requires a lot of practice. Once you start learning, it becomes second nature to you. Of course, this could be what sets you apart from the Rockies.
How to batonnet a carrot
If you need the perfect cut, you must have the right knife skills. You should choose carrots that are a few inches thick to get the most of your batonnet.
The first step is to wash the carrots and pat them dry. This is a step that you can’t miss since the dirt can interfere with the precision of the cuts. After that, peel the skin and any bruised parts.
Cut the carrot crosswise 2 to 2.5 inches. You may want to divide before squaring off – the bottom part tends to yield more pieces. Another strategy is to cut the carrot in the middle, with the two pieces measuring 3 inches. Make sure the sizes can easily grip and are comfortable working with. If you want smaller sticks, you can cut the carrot into two-thirds.
But here is the catch – since the carrots are round, you should roll them to create a stable base. This will prevent the knife from slipping. You can repeat to trim the thin slices. Now that you have a perfectly squared carrot, you can hone your knife skills.
Cut the carrot into uniform planks of ¼ inches thick. You now have a nice pile of well-cut carrot batonnets.
How to batonnet a potato
You can batonnet a potato for deep-frying or seasoning.
Peel the potato with a vegetable peeler
Start by giving your potato a good scrub and peel them. You can set down a plastic paper bag so that you can discard it when done.
You should set the broad side down with the knuckles taking care of the fingertips and thumb. Make sure it’s enough to get off to the flat surface. Next, turn the other side and flat the surface. After that, turn the third flat surface and keep the 90-degree angle. Do the same to the fourth side. You will end up with rounded ends.
If you’re a beginner, this is a tricky part. You can try to square it without wasting the potato. When you cut into stabs, it prevents excess sliding.
Cut the rectangle into ¼-inch planks.
Start by slicing ¼-inch of potato, turning the potato sticks, and cutting crosswise down to 2 to 2.5 inches. Continue cutting ¼-inch thick potato keeping 90-degree angles. At the end of the process, you should ensure the batonnet is ¼-inch by 2 or 3 inches.
If you’re making the cuts for French fries, you should submerge the batonnets in water. This helps to remove the excess starch. You can keep them there for a couple of hours until you’re ready to use them.
Tips to follow in a batonnet cut
Use a sharp knife
You should ensure the thumb is behind the steel sharpener when sharpening a knife. Avoid exposing your fingers to the blade.
Relax your grip
When you hold the knife handle, you should let the blade do the cutting.
The knuckle should be the guide
Never force the three-finger rule as you slice a knuckle in front.
Keep the knife level
Make sure the knife is at the same level as your upper body. In addition, you should move the rocking motion.
Secure the cutting board
Make sure the cutting board has a kitchen towel underneath. This helps to keep the board intact if the work surface becomes wet.
Batonnet cutting is a skill that requires precision. The trick to perfecting the art is to start slow and then find your stride before adding speed. For beginners, the task may sound difficult. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you become a pro home chef.
Proper knife skills are essential in preparing your dishes – they also give you more confidence. The batonnet technique will ensure you have uniform pieces such that your dishes will look appealing. Whether you want to make oven-baked sweet fries or you need tasty glazed carrots, you should master the batonnet technique. Once you harness your skills, you can cook almost any dish you can think of. After you become a pro, you can add your flair.