Knife skills

It can be challenging to hold a knife in your hand that looks like it could easily remove a limb along with a slice of tomato but the thing is, if you are tense to begin with, thinking of all the different ways that you could cut yourself is not going to work out too well.  The first thing you want to do before you even pick up the knife is to breathe.  Breathing gives you clarity, which you need if you have a weapon in your hand.  The rest is about rhythm.  The accent is on the down sweep; a chef’s knife moves down on the board away from you, and up to come back, with the tip of the knife never leaving the board.  It isn’t something that is easy to learn in a minute or a day, you just have to keep trying until the knife becomes an extension of your hand and feels like it will do exactly what you intend it to do.

We cut the zest from a lemon to make a lemon cream sauce for our fettucine, reducing heavy cream with sprigs of thyme and five whole cloves of garlic until the garlic is as soft an overripe banana.  We cut ribs after they had braised in white wine, rosemary and more garlic for three hours in the oven, and we cut the tips off of string beans to marinate them in olive oil and basil and lemon.  For dessert we had zabaglione with fresh strawberries and just a dallop of mascarpone.

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