Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Samurai Santoku

When I first began absorbing Jacques Pépin's lessons, what drew me was how with a few deft flicks, a perfectly diced pile of vegetables results. 

Yes, while proper tools do matter (like proper knives), there is also proper tool maintenance. I did not know this until this article about the esteemed chef, "There’s the Wrong Way and Jacques Pépin’s Way.
When Jacques Pépin slices a baguette, there is a distinct sound that seems to be imbued with six decades of experience in the kitchen.
The knife goes through, and you hear a little schloomp.
By contrast, many amateur cooks keep their knives far too dull, he said, and have a habit of crunching the blade downward on the crust, like a handheld cider press, which only squishes the white interior of a baguette into a fluff-less layer. 

Pépin favors a sharpening steel, but if the knife is not honed at a correct angle kiss the grooves goodbye. I eventually purchased the Presto EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener.

It sat in the pantry a bit before I was brave enough to try it. (While the box stipulates that it is for non-serrated knives only, the instructions contradict that with specific sharpening methods for serrated knives.) 

Heaven, I'm in heaven . . . 

Instead of my wrists seizing when I struggled to chop a carrot, my trusty Santoku now breezes right through it like a whack on Fruit Ninja. Cooking is a fraction of the effort, with much prettier results.

Here's one of my favorite episodes:

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