Word of Mouth: Chiffonade

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[shihf-uh-NAHD; shihf-uh-NAYD]

Literally translated, this French term means "made of rags." In the kitchen, it refers to thin strips or shreds of leafy vegetables (lettuce, sorrel, basil), either raw, lightly sautéed or used raw to garnish soups.

To make a chiffonade, pile up leaves neatly, role them up lengthwise like a cigar, and slice them with a very sharp knife cross-wise. We find ourselves using the technique most often with basil leaves for tossing in salads or garnishing soups and pasta dishes.

Click here for a short video demonstrating how to chiffonade.

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.