Knife Skills: Diced Carrots (or, Mirepoix 3)

Catch up with Mirepoix 1 and Mirepoix 2 here.

 Ah, the lowly carrot. So ubiquitous, so simple, such a reminder of childhood, yet so flavorful and healthy. We like to slice our carrots thinly at a sharp angle to make "chips" - they're perfect for guacamole, raita, and any other delicious dips.

Then, what happens when you need a nice, even dice? Carrots are so easy to cut into coins, but the tapering shape can become a little difficult to navigate into equally sized pieces.  But only a little. First, to the market.

Choosing Carrots

At my house we prefer jumbo carrots. They provide bigger chip shapes, and you need fewer of them to get more of a dice.

Most qualities to look for in a carrot are fairly obvious and can be determined by visual inspection and a quick squeeze:

  • nice, deep color
  • no mushy spots
  • firm, not floppy

Less obviously, the carrot needs to taste sweet, earthy, and moist. Some supermarkets sell cheap, heavily commercialized carrots that taste like crunchy air. We've lucked into the jumbo carrots at Fresh Direct, the local NYC-area grocery delivery. It might take you a few tries to find the source you like best.

Method

Step 1: Peel

You have a vegetable peeler, oui? If not, I dare you not to peel. Just scrub well and continue on, soldier. 

Now is a good time to cut off the top bit (and the bottom, if it's yucky) for your compost  bin.

 

step 1 peel.jpg

Step 2: Cut crosswise

Here you'll need to evaluate the size and taper of your carrot. If the taper is minimal, just cut in half and continue on. If the taper is fairly strong, like in my carrot here, thirds might do better to minimize the effect of the taper. This way one end isn't a lot larger than the other and your dice comes out more evenly with less effort. Usually equal lengths works well, but not always.

step 2 cut crosswise.jpg
step 3 cut lengthwise.jpg

Step 3: Cut lengthwise

Cut each section into lengths based on how small you want your dice to be. I usually pick something around 1/4". Again, based on the taper of your carrot, this means that the small end may have fewer lengthwise cuts. 

If you end up with sort of flat, square pieces (and you will, especially on the big end) give them additional lengthwise cuts until all the lengths are the same size.

step 4 crosswise again.jpg

Step 4: Cut crosswise again

You knew this was coming.  

Et voilà!

The final piece of the mirepoix puzzle. 

step 5 final dice.JPG

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