The mandoline is an extremely sharp slicing tool that makes perfectly even, paper-thin (or however thick you want) slices or ribbons of annoying-to-stabilize vegetables.
Try cucumbers and carrots for salads, zucchini ribbons for pasta, potatoes, parsnips, and other root vegetables for chips and gratins, and even garlic for sauces and vegetable sautés. Use it to make waffle slices of almost any vegetable—which never fails to impress—or matchstick cuts of firm fruits and veggies that you’d otherwise spend way too much time preparing.
Whatever you decide to slice, be very careful when holding the end of the fruit or vegetable, either by using the guard tool that comes with many models, or with a kitchen towel. Trust us, you do not want to get in the way of this blade—you will lose every time.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
For the first-time user:
The Kyocera Adjustable Mandoline, $24.95 at surlatable.com.
The ceramic blade on this beginner’s tool will never rust, so you’ll have it for years. While you won’t be able to julienne or make waffle chips with this tool, it’s a good starter mandoline that you can use to perfect your skills without putting a dent in your wallet. The blade’s height is adjustable for slices .5mm to 3mm and is sharp enough to cut any vegetable.
For the proficient cook:
The Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer, list $39.95 (but on sale for just $17.60) at amazon.com.
You know your way around a microplane, so you’re game to tackle this does-it-all mandoline. Change out the slicing blade for the one that juliennes and you can create perfect fries, impressive garnishes, and lots of uniformly cut stir-fry veggies.
For the gadget guru:
The de Buyer Deluxe Dicing Mandoline, list $250 (but on sale for $199.95) at williams-sonoma.com.
If you’re considering calling in the “big guns,” this French stainless-steel tool is a thing of beauty. It doesn’t merely slice, waffle, and julienne, it also precisely dices practically anything… and it should for the price. Remember to carefully hand wash and thoroughly dry all blades with care, because you don’t want any of this serious machine’s parts rusting.
Do you use a mandoline slicer? Which one, and what do you use it for? Help a brother out in the comments.