With if you’ve never worked with a mandoline, this is one advanced tool in the kitchen that can save you tons of time when you’re slicing and cutting vegetables. This is also one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen because it’s very easy to cut yourself or even cut off the tip of a finger if you’re not careful.
What Is It?
A mandoline slicer has two parallel work services and one of them can be adjusted in height. When a vegetable is slid along the adjustable surface, it hits a blade on the fixed surface and lets it fall. The piece of equipment itself is on an incline with the highest part closest to you and the lowest part on the counter.
Why Is It So Great?
If you’re trying to cut potatoes for an au gratin and those slices need to be uniformly paper thin, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to get them as thin as you need them with a knife. A mandoline, on the other hand, will make the task go quickly and give you evenly sliced potatoes. You can also switch the blades out to make crinkle cuts and even julienned matchsticks with ease.
The point of this piece of equipment is to make your kitchen prep life easier and give you the uniformity of slicing you desire.
Any mandoline worth its price will have a safety guard. This is a knob on top that protects your fingers from the sharp blades underneath.
Don’t be fooled by TV chefs who use a mandoline with their bare hands, bypassing the safety knob.
Make It Easy
To justify the expense of a mandoline you will want to make sure that it’s easy to setup, clean and put away. Look for something that’s compact, user friendly and at a price you can afford that will speed up every day cutting tasks.
One thing to be aware of is that extra cutting blades are typically stored under the body of the mandoline and, if you don’t take them out ahead of time, food will fall on them and get trapped. This means that you will have to pull out those blades to clean them anyway so you might as well take them out before you start cutting.
You will want to make sure that when you swap out one blade for another, you don’t have to manhandle the piece of equipment just to get the blade out. You want to make sure that your hands are safe at all times.
Look for These
When doing research on a mandoline, look at these categories to see which fits you best:
- Ease – Look for a model that requires less effort and feels more comfortable to setup, slice, change blades, clean and reassemble.
- Cleaning – You don’t want a lot of places where food can become trapped making the mandoline hard to wash.
- Performance – The whole point of having a mandoline is to have crisp and uniform slices smoothly and quickly.
- Safety – This is the big issue with a mandoline. Look for a large, comfortable hand guard that securely groups food and keeps you safe whenever you’re using it.
A mandoline can be a wonderful tool in the kitchen but can also be the most dangerous so plenty of research is important.
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