Hello my Foodie Friends!
We are definitely spending more time in our kitchens. Food prep has become an essential step in creating the spectacular dishes we are now creating for ourselves, family, and friends.
There is one tool that has become an “essential” in the kitchen: enter the mezzaluna. The mezzaluna is the meal prep tool that you never knew you needed. Meaning “half moon” in Italian, this old-fashioned workhorse will cut your chopping time in half—and it’s actually fun to use. Why chop or mince when you could rock? The mezzaluna, with its half-moon-shwaped blade and knobby handles at each end, possesses the simplicity of a tool like the hammer. Its design recalls an earlier time, before the food processor, and before home cooks had knife skills worthy of a restaurant kitchen. Operating a mezzaluna is simple: Grab the two handles and rock back and forth while the curved blade does its thing, gliding over the board. It makes a pleasing whooshing sound when seesawing—somewhere between a rocking chair and a samurai’s sword. Your fingers will be tucked safely away too, as you use both hands to grasp the sturdy handles instead of guiding the blade as you might with a conventional knife. In other words, they are foolproof—which is useful when you want to keep all your fingers intact. The crescent-shaped curved blade is often used in Italy for pesto and soffritto, the small dice of carrot, onion, and celery that is the base for so many soups and stews or to dispatch herbs, garlic, ginger, nuts, and anything else that needs to be roughly chopped (done in seconds) or finely minced (more like a minute.
Mezzalunas come in a variety of sizes (if you want to impress your mates by slicing up a pizza like a pro, opt for a larger one), with one or two parallel blades. The latter will give you twice the number of chops in the same amount of time, but you risk getting bits of food stuck between the blades. Many will find that the traditional single-blade ones are best.
Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, to find those cool tools that can help you as you plan out your menus and get chopping. Make a mezzaluna a part of your culinary “go to” collection. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula