There was a cookery competition which I entered, and it was about different ways of cutting vegetables and offered the choices of brunoise, batonnet and julienne; well I know what julienne is – cut into long very fine and thin strips, tricky to do unless you have a nice sharp knife… No-one knows where the word julienne comes from but it was first seen in print in 1722, and was probably from someone called Jules or Julien, (who may have been the person who perfected this, or laid it down as a rule in his kitchen) and because it’s French, when applied to a feminine something it became julienne
Brunoise it turns out means when, having cut your chosen vegetable into julienne, you turn it a quarter ways round and cut the strips again very finely, so you end up with neat little cubes. In terms of size, these shapes go from large, to medium, to small dice, then to brunoise, and fine brunoise. Brunoise comes from the French word for brown, and of course, these cut vegetables would have been browned in a pan – in butter apparently…. but I don’t actually know! A batonnet is simple, a baton, and it comes at the larger end of the fine cutting – batonnet, allumette (match stick) julienne, and fine julienne.
That’s not all, there are other names for different shapes and sizes of cut vegetables:
- paysanne – small flat cubes
- lozenge – diamond-shaped
- fermière – cut lengthwise then sliced
- rondelle – round slices
- tourné – cut with seven faces
- macedoine – dice
- mirepoix – rough cut
- chiffonade – shredded
I hope a question about cutting vegetables crops up in the quiz! I’ll be there in a flash!