Working in kitchen is not an easy task. There is loads of thing we need to take care before we really start cooking food. While setting up new kitchen as well as for well equipped kitchens ‘Kitchen Knife’ is an inevitable thing. Every kitchen must have few good kitchen knives and without them kitchen is incomplete. There are thousand types of kitchen knives available; paring knife is one of them.
Chef’s knife is first priority of every kitchen to cut large vegetables, meat etc while paring knife is best knife after chef’s knives. It is useful for small work of paring fruits and chopping. Paring knife is a small knife that comes with a short blade and firm handle. They usually come with 3 to 6 inches long blade.
With its blade of 3 to 4 inches, every paring knife looks like a miniature chef’s knife and one can say that is just an extension of chef’s hand. Though it looks like mini chef’s knife it is used in a very different way than other knives. This small knife is great for paring & peeling fruits, vegetables, carrots etc while it can also be used for slicing a single garlic clove or shallot as well as it is really useful for controlled, detailed cutting. For example it can be really useful for cutting shapes or vents into dough as well as scoring designs and patterns on surfaces of food. Paring knife is made for to perform any task that requires precise and delicate work, like removing the ribs from a jalapeño or coring an apple.
Best thing about paring knife is that it can be used to cut fruits while holding them aloft. While with all other knife this is not easy and require a chopping board for cutting and slicing. The small handle of this knife gives the cook maximum control over its tip as well as the edge of the blade.
Paring knife mostly used for the following tasks –
- To hull strawberries.
- To section lemon and citrus fruits like orange.
- Devein shrimp
To hull the strawberries it better to use the tip of paring knife; this is always pointed and sharp. With the help of its tip remove the stem of strawberry and carve out the white core from stem end.
To get a section orange and any citrus fruits it is better to hold the fruit in hand and peel the fruit to the flesh, once peeling is completed then cut between the white membranes to extract each section. It is always better to use paring knife for this work as chef’s knife is a large knife and increases risk of giving cut to fingers and palm, while paring knife is small and handy knife.
To devein shrimp cut through a shallow slit down the outside curve of the shrimp and remove the dark vein, and rinse the shrimp under cold water.
Purchasing a good paring knife –
It is always better to have a couple of paring knife in kitchen to do delicate cutting work. While buying a paring knife almost all professional chef’s look for following things –
- Blade – Material of blade, tang, tip and sharpness
- Handle – Weight & shape of handle, Is it comfortable?
Most chefs prefer high-carbon steel, forged knife with full tang. Full tang means blade of knife runs through it handle till the end; giving blade more stability.
The Blade: In a forged knife, the blade is formed from heated metal and is individually hammered. The best blades are made from a mixture of alloys that help a knife take and hold a sharp cutting edge and resist corrosion. Look for a high-carbon stainless-steel blade with a Rockwell rating of at least 55, which indicates the knife, sharpens easily and holds its edge. The Rockwell Scale is a measure of steel hardness, and it should be listed on the knife’s product description.
Handle: Look for a handle with a precise fitting and no gaps or burrs. It should feel comfortable and secure. Materials range from wood to Bakelite to stainless steel and should have enough weight to balance the blade.