The Fine Slice
To process carrots into the thin sticks called julienne—a technique essential for making the Carrot and Daikon Pickle and the Iceberg Slaw recipes—requires patient, careful slicing. Most professional cooks chop their carrots into two-inch-long segments, square off and discard the edges, and cut the segments into thin planks, which they then stack up and slice into slivers. It’s a perfectly serviceable way of going about it, but it produces a lot of wasted carrot. We prefer the following technique, which we learned from Shirley Cheng, a professor of Asian cooking at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Here’s how to do it.
1. Trim and peel a carrot. Using a large, sharp knife (a cleaver also works well), slice the carrot on a deep diagonal into thin, broad slices, keeping the overlapping slices nestled close together as you work. Cutting on the diagonal allows you to use almost the whole carrot; slices from the tapered end will be about the same length as those from the thicker end.
2. Spread the carrot slices out like a deck of cards, so that one slice overlaps most of another.
3. Working from one end of the pile to the other, cut the carrot slices into thin slivers, holding the carrots down firmly with your free hand as you go.