By The Spoonful


Quick Tip: Chiffonade

chiffonade basil

Ever order a dish from a nice restaurant that was finished with an elegant sprinkling of fresh herbs cut into thin strips? It has a nice presentation factor, not to mention the flavor fresh herbs adds to any dish. Be it to garnish a gourmet pizza, pasta dish, mix into a sauce, salsa or just to shred lettuce for a salad; to chiffonade is a fun way to use large leaf herbs or leafy greens. It’s as much fun to do as it is to say… let’s start chiffonading!

Pile of fresh basil leaves. Stack basil leaves on top of each other.

Large leafy herbs such as basil, sage and even mint or leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, and all types of lettuce can be chiffonaded into thin ribbons. If you are handy with a chef knife, then you may have julienned vegetables into thin uniform strips. To chiffonade is to julienne for herbs. It is such a simple knife skill; you will be amazed how often you probably already use it in your cooking.

Chiffonade basil for fresh bruschetta.

For this post I chiffonaded fresh basil for a bruschetta. To start, stack the leafs into a manageable amount. Roll the stack into a “cigar.” If you want short thin strips roll your leafy cigar width wise. If you prefer long thin strips, roll the leafy cigar length wise. Hold your leafy cigar tightly in one hand and with a sharp knife in the other hand slice herbs into thin strips. You now have a stack of leafy strips or rags, which is exactly what chiffonade means in French. It means the rags or fabric threads, sort of like what you find at the legs of your old worn jeans.

Roll basil leaves into a log or cigar. Basil Cigar


Slice basil cigar into thin strips....also known as chiffonade. Chiffonade Basil

Chiffonade of basil.


Ever shredded lettuce or cut cabbage into strips? To shred lettuce is to chiffonade lettuce. So you have chiffonaded before and didn’t know it.


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