A good friend of mine recently requested that I email him a cooking tip a week. My clever husband suggested that instead of just emailing that one friend that I send everyone who subscribes to Minced a cooking tip a week. He thought it would be nice if I shared the love and I agree!
To kick things off I thought I would take on the one thing that brings everyone to tears in the kitchen: the onion. In theory chopping an onion seems simple, but when your eyes are watering and your vision is blurry it’s downright unpleasant not to mention difficult. Unfortunately I can’t make you stop crying (although I have included some suggestions that others have shared with me at the end of this post), but if you follow these steps you’ll make quick work of the onion and hopefully stave off the tears.
How to chop an onion:
Step 1: Get the onion.
The onion will appear harmless. We know better. Please note that the onion has a root end (on the left) and a stem end (on the right).
Step 2: Cut off the stem end.
Step 3: Cut the onion in half.
Stand the onion on what used to be the stem end and cut the onion in half through the root. Note: You can cut off the roots (I’ve left them on as a visual here) before this step, but don’t cut too much off as you’ll want to leave enough of the root end to hold the onion together. Remove the skin from each half of the onion. Place each onion half, cut side down, on your cutting board to keep the tears at bay.
Step 4: Slice the onion.
Make parallel vertical cuts through the onion being careful not to cut through the root end. When done right, when you finish cutting your vertical cuts all the onion slices will still be held together by the root end.
Step 5: Chop the Onion.
Turn the onion and make cuts perpendicular to the cuts you just made. Continue cutting until you reach the root end. Discard the root end and use the chopped onions as directed in your recipe. For a larger dice spread your cuts farther apart. For minced onion, keep your cuts close together.
On a side note, notice the claw grip in the picture and how the blade of the knife rests against your knuckles. Fingers are important – keep them tucked in.
Still crying? Here are some tips I’ve picked up a long the way:
– Put the onion in the freezer before cutting it.
– Cut the onion near running water.
– Wear onion goggles or swimming goggles.
– Hold a slice of bread in your mouth as you cut the onion. The bread will absorb the onion fumes and your eyes will be protected.
– Cut the onion with your mouth open.
– And finally the one suggestion that Minced will stand behind, use a sharp knife.