Gordon Ramsay's Three-Finger Rule For Chopping Herbs Is Genius

Whether used as a garnish or cooked into a meal, leafy herbs like chives, basil, and cilantro can add a vibrant depth of flavor to just about any dish. However, they can be finicky, especially when it comes to cutting them. For starters, they can turn mushy if they're cut while still wet, which is why you should always dry fresh herbs before chopping them.

Moreover, since herbs are prone to bruising, you shouldn't cut them too vigorously or with too heavy a hand. Fortunately, you can gain more control over your knife by using Gordon Ramsay's three-finger cutting trick, which he demonstrates in a video posted to his YouTube channel. The technique involves holding your greens with your middle finger placed in front of your index and ring fingers, with your nails all tucked in to face your palm. Your knuckle then guides the knife as you chop.

This technique helps reduce the likelihood that your heady greens will be damaged in the cutting process. And, perhaps even better, this brilliant cutting technique may also help protect your fingers from a piercingly sharp blade.

Use Ramsay's three-finger trick to prevent bruising

One of the primary reasons herbs end up getting bruised is when too much external force is applied, damaging the cell walls. By using your middle finger's knuckle as a guide, Gordon Ramsay suggests that you're better able to "let the knife do the work" when cutting your herbs (just make sure you have a sharp knife, as a dull blade could also lead to bruising). This method allows for more precision with each cut, so you won't have to make several passes and over-chop your herbs — bruising your greens and losing precious oils in the process.

Avoiding bruising isn't just important because it can impact the appearance and texture of herbs — it may also affect their flavor, potentially even causing them to turn bitter. For this reason, be sure not to grip your herbs too forcefully either. Use the restaurateur's proper three-finger placement to hold them ever so gently, minimizing any excess pressure on them.

More expert tips for chopping herbs

Mastering Gordon Ramsay's tip for proper finger placement is essential for cutting herbs without bruising them. However, since every herb is unique, there may be additional steps to take to achieve the perfect cut.

Take basil, for example. Ramsay's method for cutting this soft herb involves opening up each leaf and stacking them on top of one another, arranging them in order by size with the largest ones at the bottom. Ramsay recommends cutting only about 10 to 12 leaves at a time to avoid bruising. After stacking them, gently roll them into a cigar-like shape before you begin cutting your chiffonade.

When it comes to cilantro, hold the bunch facing downwards, and gently scrape the leaves off the stalks with a sharp blade. Then, you can bunch them back together and start chopping — just avoid hacking.

For beautifully chopped chives, try the back-slicing technique, which involves gliding the knife back and forth on the cutting board without lifting the blade's tip after each pass. Of course, be sure to hold the chives with Ramsay's three-finger trick for expertly chopped herbs full of flavor.