Classic Vegetable Cuts
Depending on the type of preparation required, classic French cooking uses a variety of different types of vegetable cuts. The type of cut is usually determined by the cooking process and the amount of cooking time required.
When used as an aromatic garnish, rigorous preparation ensures that the maximum amount of flavour is released during the cooking process before the vegetable begins to break down. Similarly, when used as an accompanying garnish, good preparation ensures all the vegetables are served at a consistent cuisson or doneness. It also helps control for food hygiene, quality and presentation.
Bâtonnets, meaning “little stick,” refers to vegetables that have been cut into stick shapes. They are often served as a garnish and are typically 1cm x 1cm in width and height. The length tends to vary depending on the size of the main ingredient that it is being serves with.
Brunoise vegetables are small precise cubes that tend to be no larger than 3 mm x 3 mm x 3 mm. This type of vegetable cut is excellent for stuffings, sauces and as a garnish for soups. Even smaller cubes, called Brunoisette, are 1 mm in dimensions and can again be used in soups or as decorations.
Chiffonade is a term used to describe the fine shredding of herbs and leaf vegetables such as spinach or lettuce.
Ciseler mostly refers to the fine mincing of bulb vegetables such as onions, shallots and garlic.
Concasser is literally translated as “to crush or to grind.” In cuisine, it refers to the rough chopping of vegetables, usually tomatoes which have been peeled and deseeded.
Although it does not refer to any specific shape, Émincer refers to thinly, consistently sliced vegetables.
Hacher means “chop” and is often used for irregular shaped vegetables such as herbs. It generally used when a fine chop is required, but an exact size or shape is not so important.
Julienned are very thin strips of vegetables between 1 and 2 mm thick and 3 to 5 cm in length. Because of their small size, Julienne vegetables cannot withstand prolonged or intense cooking. Often used as a garnish for soups.
Macédoine are cuts that are cubes of 4 to 5 mm, great for salads where you want to mix together a few different vegetables.
Mirepoix is one of the most common vegetable cuts in French cooking and is used as an aromatic garnish to flavour stocks and sauces. It is always strained away before service of the main dish. The size of the Mirepoix is dependant on the length of the cooking time.