01 of 05
Start With Fresh Mint
A chiffonade of mint adds a note of freshness and lovely color to dishes. It's easy to do and is undeniably a great way to dress up simple dishes. It's that extra bit of effort beyond a simple mint leaf.
No fancy, chef-like technique will ever rescue sad, old mint. Start with the freshest, most vibrant mint you can find! To keep the mint as fresh as possible between buying it and using it, rinse it clean, shake off the extra water, then roll it up on paper towels, tuck that bundle into a plastic bag, and keep it chilled until ready to use. The paper towels will keep the mint moist while keeping it from sitting in water, which would cause it to spoil and blacken more quickly.
Here we're using fresh mint leaves, but this technique for cutting ribbons is the same for basil, spinach, and other herbs and green leaves.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
Stack the Mint Leaves
Remove however many mint leaves you want to cut from the stems (discard the stems).
Lay a mint leaf flat and lengthwise in front of you. Stack up to 8 at a time on top of it. More than that will be difficult to roll up, which is up next. The more evenly you stack them, the more even the final ribbons will likely be, so don't just shove them together in a pile, really stack them.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
Roll Up the Mint Leaves
Once you have your even little stack, use your fingertips to grasp the long edge of the leaf stack closest to you and start to roll up the leaves. If you can picture how a cigar is rolled, that's the basic idea. You're taking a stack of mint leaves and turning them into a long cylinder; roll the mint leaves into a tightly bundled cigar shape.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
Cut Into Thin Slices
Use a sharp knife to cut bundled mint leaves into thin slices, which will immediately drop into lovely, delicate, green ribbons.
The method of leaving the tip or front of the knife on the cutting board while lifting up the knife handle and the bulk of the blade, bring it back down to cut through the mint works very well here (as opposed to lifting the entire knife up and chopping).
Repeat this up and down motion, moving the knife over the bundle of mint leaves steadily and carefully so they fall under the blade to receive their cut.
Be careful to keep your fingertips holding the bundled leaves curled under so you don't accidentally cut them with the leaves!Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Voila! Mint Chiffonade
Slice the entire bundle and use your fingertips to fluff the result into pretty ribbons. This is a chiffonade!
Use the resulting mint chiffonade to flavor and/or garnish dishes. Sprinkle on soups, toss on top of salads, stir into dips, or just use to decorate a plate. Mint works well in both savory and sweet dishes, as shown in this Zucchini Mint Salad, this Fennel Mint Salad, as a garnish on Tabouli, or with this Baked Fish. It's an easy way to impress guests!