Essentially, you can accomplish much of a mandoline's work with a steady hand and a sharp knife. However, when slicing up zucchini ribbons and shredding brussels sprouts, mandolines cut prep time down significantly and promise consistent, even results. And they're fun to use!
When the hand guard is used correctly, slicing with a mandoline becomes safer than using a knife. However, those blades are sharp and dangerous and not to be messed with. Firmly attach vegetables to the hand guard and don't sacrifice good form for speed. We don't even think about slicing anything without the hand guard - it's not worth the risk (unless you have one of these blade-safe gloves)!
Use the Right Blade for the Job
Most mandolines come with three or four slicing blades beyond the basic blade. These allow you to slice paper thin, a little thicker (think potato chips), thick julienne (think french fries), and thin julienne. If you're not sure how your blades will slice, invest in a few potatoes and try each setting out. It's usually a good idea to have a few extra veggies on hand when you're learning to use your mandoline as well so you can get the hang of the whole process.
Recipes that use the slicing blade:
- Spring Salad Recipe: Asparagus Ribbons
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Hazelnuts and Brown Butter Dressing
- Chili-Spiked Sweet Potato Chips
- Homemade Potato Chips with Rosemary
- Zucchini "Tagliatelle"
- Tri-Color Slaw with Lime Dressing
Recipes that use the thin julienne blade:
- Orange, Olive, and Fennel Salad
- Penne with Zucchini and Almonds
- Zucchini Bread
- Root Vegetable Slaw with Orange-Cumin Dressing
- Diner-Style Hash Browns
Recipes that use the thick julienne blade:
This post was requested by KalliV and TandCake for Reader Request Week 2013.
(Images: Williams Sonoma)