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Video:How to Slice Batonnet and Alumette Knife Cuts

with Danilo Alfaro

One of the first lessons in knife skills are these easy cuts. Turn mundane-looking fruits and vegetables into symmetrical pieces that will cook evenly with a few simple slices using the batonnet and alumette cuts.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Slice Batonnet and Alumette Knife Cuts

Hi! My name is Danilo Alfaro and I'm About.com's Guide to culinary arts, and today I'm going to show you how to do a couple of common culinary knife cuts: the batonnet and the alumette.

What Is a Batonnet and Alumette Knife Cut?

The batonnet is half an inch by half an inch by a couple - two and a half, three inches - and the alumette is a little skinnier than that - it's one quarter inch by one quarter inch.

Why Cut Vegetables to the Same Size?

By cutting it the same size it's going to cook evenly - it's going to cook at the same rate - so that by the time you're done, everything will have a uniform degree of doneness. I'm using a jicama, which is a fruit/vegetable/root type item. Check out that precision knife work there - that's like scientifically straight down to the micron of jicama.

Prepare the Vegetable for Cutting

Since we're looking for squares - we're always looking to transfer these weirdly round things into squares - so I'm just going to trim off a little bit of that edge there, square it off there like that. Completely square it off on all sides. So you can see with this here now, there's nothing that you can cut off of this that isn't going to be square, assuming you cut in a straight line.

Batonnet Knife Cuts

Batonnet is the French word for "stick," or maybe it means twig or tree branch or something, but anyway it's long and thin. So, we're just going to take it right down there, another half-inch and see - look at that. It's like it was cut with a laser. Look at that. Can we get another one out of there? So you can see these pieces are just square by square by square, more or less - you know - more or less. That, basically, is your batonnet.

How to Use Batonnet-Cut Vegetables

If that were a potato, what would that remind you of? That might tend to put you in somewhat a frame of mind of french fries, wouldn't it? And if this were a potato, and we were to just throw that in some oil that was heated up to maybe 375 degrees, pop it out of there when it turned nice and golden brown, you would have some amazing homemade french fries. Unfortunately, this is jicama, so we're not going to do that.

Alumette Knife Cuts

So, we've got our batonnets here, and to continue breaking these further down into alumettes, it's really pretty easy. The trick is, we're just going to take and cut this piece in half, straight down the middle, which you can see we've done. And then flip it on it's side there and we're just going to cut straight through the top of both of those, which give us these four really lovely alumette cuts.

The nice thing about a cut like this - a jicama or a turnip or a carrot or a potato or basically anything that's somewhat of a prosaic-looking thing - it's not that attractive and you cut it into all these different pieces - but suddenly, when you have pieces like that, it suddenly becomes very elegant. Because they're all cut to the same size and everything, they will cook nice and evenly and they make sort of a nice presentation on the plate. So that's how we make a batonnet cut and an alumette cut.

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