Cleaver (Asian Cleaver)
chef's knife is the one knife that is consistently
rated as the single most essential in the kitchen.
However, if I could only pick one knife to have in
the kitchen, it would be a Chinese or Asian cleaver.
This knife's sharp edge is thin enough and sharp enough
to easily cut and mince food and at the same time
strong enough to handle light cleaving jobs. The side
of the blade can be used to smash garlic and ginger
and the top edge san be used (with care) as a meat
tenderizer. The broad blade is often used to move
food from the cutting board to the stove. However,
due to the overall shape and size of a Chinese Cleaver,
there is not as much precision as a chef's knife.
Since I have a full compliment of knives, my Chinese
cleaver sits on the sidelines waiting for the day
when I can only have one knife to use.
KnifeThe most versatile knife in the western kitchen
is the chef's knife. It is used for cutting, slicing,
chopping, and mincing. The curved blade allows rocking
back and forth for fine chopping and mincing. Chef's
knives come in blade lengths from 6 to 12 inches.
The longer the knife, the more you can cut, but the
more difficult it is to control. If you've got small
hands (like I do), you may want to stick with the
6 to 8 in. variety. Tina uses a 6 in. while I find
the 8 in. allows me to grip the knife just forward
of the bolster with my forefinger and thumb without
discomfort (the 6 in. is slimmer so the back of the
knife digs into the side of my knuckle). If you've
got one of these and a board scraper, you won't need
or want to use an Asian cleaver.
is the Japanese equivalent of a chef's knife and has
been gaining in popularity in Western kitchens. It
has a broad blade and a tip that is lower than a chef's
tip. Typically made thinner than a chef's knife, it
does not have as much structural strength or weight,
but is great at all chef's knife functions except
for cutting through bone. Many brands now carry santokus,
but a few have made poor design decisions (edge is
almost flat, tip too low, knife too thick, etc.).
The Shun Classic Santoku shown here is probably the
best santoku on the market right now. Unfortunately,
for left handers, it's a right handed knife (the unique
D crosssection handle fits right handers).
paring knife is great for working a blade in a small
space. Paring apples, cutting fruits, butterflying
shrimp, and seeding a jalapeno are just some of the
tasks the paring knife is well suited for. The paring
knife has a thin blade that makes it easy to manuever
while cutting. The sharp tip is also useful for removing
potato eyes and other such tasks. In general, a paring
knife is simply a miniature chef's knife - designed
with the same curves and angles but smaller. This
makes switching between the chef's knife and the paring
knife a natural action.
Knife (Slicing Knife)
carving knife's special purpose is to carve poultry,
roasts, and hams after they have been cooked.Amazon.com:
JA Henckels Pro S 10 in. Granton Edge Slicer Carvers
typically have points to reach into tight places,
but roast beef carvers have blunt ends. Some have
hollow recesses along their blades and are referred
to as granton or hollow edged or scallops. These air
pockets allow for thinner slicing because they prevent
meat slices from adhering to the blade. Why use a
slicer instead of a chef's knife? Thickness. A carving
knife is much thinner, enabling the knife to slice
through finely while a thicker knife will wedge and
tear the cooked meat once it cuts in too deep.
bread knife's job in life is to cut, you guessed it,
bread. Many breads have a hard crust which keeps a
slicer or chef's knife from digging in and gripping
the bread when you start to cut. You can use the tip
of the chef's knife to punch a hole where you want
to cut and then slice, but what about soft breads?
With soft breads, the chef's knife doesn't clip around
on the crust, but while you cut into the bread, you
compress it instead of slicing clean through. A bread
knife solves both problems by providing large serrations
that grip the crust and can saw through soft breads
without squishing them. This knife is also useful
for cutting dense cakes (yellow cakes, pound cakes),
but use a fine serrated knife for light cakes (angel
knife is the in-between knife. If you've got a 4 inch
paring and a 10 inch chef's, you might want a 6 in.
utility knife for all those jobs in between. Sometimes
it's also called a tomato knife (usually when it has
medium serrations) or a sandwich knife. Since Tina
uses a 6 inch chef's knife, I use that instead.
Knife (Fillet Knife)
thin knife allows you to remove membranes from meat
and meat from bones easily. Usually, it is made thin
enough for the blade to be a little flexible. Typically,
this will be the sharpest knife you own because it
will also be the thinnest knife. Use this to cut anything
soft that needs fine precision work, but don't cut
semi-frozen meat with this blade (use a chef's knife
for that). The Victorinox or RH Forschner brand boning
knife with Fibrox handle is probably the best boning
knife available and is 1/5 the cost of most high end
knives. This model goes for $10 and the handle doesn't
get slippery when coated with juice and membrane from
the poultry you're working on.
knife is used to hack pieces of meat with bone apart.
Usually imprecise due to the amount of force you need
to use, the meat cleaver sections meat pretty well.
I suggest using a seperate cutting board because you'll
probably cut into the board a bit. In western cooking,
there will be very little need for this knife because
most of the time we trim the meat off the bones. When
quartering a chicken, a boning knife is used and we
avoid cutting through bone (unless we're doing it
Asian style where having slivers of bone is part of
the look and feel). Most of the time the butcher handles
the bone cutting for us with their rotary and band
saws (which produce much cleaner cuts than a meat
Knife (Dining Knife)
Knife This is the knife your guests will use to tear
cooked meat into bit sized chunks. It's usually best
to have large pieces of cooked meat served whole to
preserve the juices and have your guests cut them.
A steak knife does not cut meat as much as it tears