The indispensable utensil for paper-thin vegetable slices
A mandoline slicer is an invaluable tool in any kitchen, professional and otherwise: it allows you to cut consistently thin slices of fruits and vegetables, and produce them at a quick pace.
Why I Love This
A long time ago I splurged on an expensive French mandoline slicer, but it was so bulky and awkward to handle that I rarely pulled it out of the cabinet. This one, however, is light on its feet, very affordable, and it takes up little space*.
I now find myself using it daily: to cut paper-thin slices of vegetables for salads, tarts and gratins, to make cucumber slices for my nori rolls, to grate carrots, to cut zucchini noodles, to slice apples for my caramelized tarte fine…
More details about the Benriner mandolin slicer
This model is made in Japan (not China) by the renowned manufacturer Benriner, and it is incredibly efficient and durable, with razor-sharp blades*.
In addition to the straight blade for slicing, it comes with three grater blades to make super-fine strands (for swirly garnishes), medium strips (for perfect grated carrot salads and zucchini noodles), and thicker strands (for shoestring fries!). These extra blades are easily screwed on or off, and the thickness of the slices or strands is adjusted with the turn of a third screw at the back of the mandoline.
Although I personally own the original model (3 1/2 inches or 9 cm), I’m thinking the wider model (5 inches or 12,7 cm) may be more versatile, when slicing bigger apples for instance. I would not, however, recommend getting the model with the tray as I think it would feel clunky to use, and how hard is it to just collect your sliced or shredded vegetables from the cutting board underneath?
* I do want to insert a word of caution about the blades: do not underestimate their sharpness! Always remain super focused and concentrated on what you’re doing (don’t chat and slice), be especially cautious with harder vegetables that require more force, and don’t hesitate to set aside the butt ends of vegetables for soup or stock, rather than insist on slicing them to the very last bit.
** I bought my mandoline slicer on a trip to Tokyo a few years ago, where the shop owner explained amusedly that French chefs love Japanese mandolines while Japanese chefs rush to buy French ones. The grass is always greener!