Julienne Made Easy

Creating restaurant-style presentation for any dish has gotten a lot easier.

Chefs use special techniques to create amazingly beautiful plated dishes. One such technique is julienne, in which the food item is cut into long, thin strips, similar to matchsticks. It calls for strips of vegetables cut precisely 1/8” x 1/8” by 2” long or a bit more. Using this technique requires a well-trained chef or patient use of a large sharp knife. Julienne usually applies to vegetables but it can also be applied to fruit or even beef and chicken in stir-fries.

Most of us don’t have patience or know-how to cut such uniform slices from vegetables.

Easy-to-use julienne peelers allow anyone to quickly create perfect-looking veggie strips thanks to the advanced design and super-sharp blades. Add eye appeal to salads and stir-fry dishes with perfect strips of shredded vegetables. Dress up your desserts with julienned apples, lemons, orange peels, or even chocolate. Because the blade of a julienne peeler has teeth instead of only a straight blade, it removes thin shreds instead of a solid strip. This tool makes it easy because you can quickly make garnishes, top salads, shred cucumbers, zest citrus and more.

A julienne peeler resembles a potato peeler. To use a julienne peeler, it must be dragged evenly across a vegetable, ensuring that the size of the strips remain uniform.

Julienned vegetables can be used in sushi, as garnishes, in soups, or in stir fries; the imagination is really the only limit. The simplest use is in a quick stir-fry like our recipe below.

Jeweled Julienne

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. zucchini, cut into julienne strips (with a mandoline or julienne peeler)

8 oz. yellow squash, cut into julienne strips

4 oz. (1 medium) carrot, cut into julienne strips

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high and add the remaining vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook about 1 minute. Give it a stir to mix everything around and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through, yet firm. Do not overcook!

Sea Bass en Papillote With Julienned Vegetables

4 6-oz. pieces sea bass

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 medium carrot, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 small zucchini, julienned

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut four 12” x 17” pieces of parchment, fold them each in half, and cut a heart shape out of each like you did when you were in second grade. Set aside.

Mix together lemon zest, lemon juice and white wine. Pat the fish dry.

Open each piece of parchment so that it lies flat. Right next to the fold in the center of each piece of paper, divide the vegetables among the parchment papers. Top with the fish. Sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper and garlic. Spoon some of the lemon/wine mixture over each fillet. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each piece of fish. Fold over the paper to cover the food and fold and twist the paper all around the edges to create a tight seal.

Bake for 10–12 minutes. The pouch will puff up while in the oven and take on a bit of color. It will deflate slightly as you take it out of the oven. Serve the pouch hot, in its entirety, so each guest opens the package just before eating it. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.