Let’s get one thing straight. A mandolin is that musical instrument that’s been annoying you in REM songs dating back to the 90s. A mandoline—with an e at the end—is a kitchen tool no one should be without.
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The key benefits to using a mandoline are speed and uniformity in slicing, shredding and sometimes grating. Traditionally used to cut prep time to a minimum when making gratins, slaws and french fries, mandolines are tremendously versatile. Choose the right blade; in seconds, a carrot will transform into silky ribbons for a salad, Brussels sprouts into shreds for a stir-fry and a lemon into virtually transparent slices for a cocktail garnish.
Because mandolines are generally used less often than knives, they’re often sharper. Once you get into the speedy rhythm of using one, you may not be able to stop before your fingertips hit the blade. To avoid a trip to the ER, always use the finger guard or, if you prefer, a cut-resistant kitchen glove. Another tip: Hold fruits and veggies in place with the palm of your hand rather than gripping them with your fingertips. Finally, more expensive mandoline models have blades that can be sharpened; less expensive ones need to be replaced when blades become dull.
9 Things to Do with a Mandoline:
① Concoct spring-like pasta substitutes, like this carrot linguine with carrot top pesto.
② Create a crispy shaved root vegetable salad from beets, kohlrabi, carrots and radishes.
③ Prepare slices of radishes and cucumbers for elegant tea sandwiches, or for making the layers for a vegan eggplant BLT.
④ Sliver apples or rhubarb for picture-perfect tarts, or slice pears for this pear ginger pie.
⑤ Make potato, beet or sweet potato chips, or crisp fried okra chips.
⑥ Craft paper-thin slices of citrus fruit for marmalade or punch, like this thyme wine punch.
⑦ Whip up a gorgeous carpaccio salad featuring thinly sliced fruit or vegetables; this halibut carpaccio with nectarines, radish and lime is a real winner.
⑧ Some mandolines come with a grating blade; use that instead of a box grater for ripping through a block of cheese.
⑨ Transform fibrous vegetables into crunchy, crowd-pleasing salads, like this fennel salad with bread crumbs and walnuts.
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