Everything You Need to Know About the Paring Knife
It’s Sunday morning. Your friends are coming over for brunch in a few hours, one of whom you want to impress with your culinary skills — word around town is that they’re the fastidious type, with a keen eye for detail (or rather the lack thereof).
Mid-prep, you get the idea to supreme some oranges to snazz up your presentation. You grab your Phantom Series 9.5” chef’s knife and quickly realize it’s way too big for the task.
That Santoku knife you brought over from your trip to Japan? Also overkill.
Enter: The paring knife.
What Is It?
The paring knife gets its name from what it does best — “to pare” means to peel the skin off something.
Paring knives are excellent at peeling the outer skin of fruits and vegetables.
They feature short, strong blades, which are typically between 2 – 4 inches long. This short size makes them good at handling tasks where precision is important.
A quality paring knife is a fantastic addition to any chef’s knife collection. Its size makes it super maneuverable; with it, executing those tight curves becomes a cinch.
You’re probably thinking about the peeler right now — it makes fast work of peeling the outer layers of vegetables. But what if, for example, you need to core an apple? That peeler won't cut it.
You need a paring knife for that.
It’s a nice day, and you’re deveining shrimp for that hearty shrimp creole you’ve been craving. You’ll need a drink to go with it, so you rinse the paring knife and use it to hull some strawberries before tossing them in the blender for that refreshing, tangy strawberry daiquiri.
Just as you’re clearing the table, the doorbell rings. That Dalstrong package that you’ve been eagerly waiting for has just arrived in the mail. You rinse your handy paring knife again and use it to tear open your package.
This level of versatility is what makes the paring knife a must-have tool in your kitchen.
What to Look for When Buying a Paring Knife
Paring knives are precision tools. You need to invest in a high-quality blade that will both last longer and carry out delicate tasks with ease.
Some qualities you must consider when picking your paring knife include:
The delicate tasks that paring knives handle necessitate short blades. The sweet spot is between 2 and 4 inches.
Dalstrong paring knives are the perfect sidekick for you in your kitchen. Our blades offer unrivaled edge retention, durability, and stain resistance.
The Shogun Series paring knives, for example, feature 67-layers of high-carbon stainless steel cladding, which provide exceptional strength.
In most cases, you’ll be gripping your knife tightly for accuracy with those close cuts. And considering how much you’ll be using this knife, isn’t it prudent to ensure that the handle is comfortable?
A comfortable handle won’t be slippery in your grip — regardless of whether you’re using it in the air or on a chopping board.
A Good Blade to Handle Ratio
Your paring knife should feel secure and balanced in your hand. This balance will be best struck when the blade’s weight and length is equal to the weight and length of the knife’s handle.
What Do You Use a Paring Knife For?
Different knives have different roles in the kitchen. We’ve established above that the paring knife gets a sizable share of those roles.
Some of these situations include, but are not limited to:
Paring Your Ingredients
Using the paring knife to peel your vegetables or fruits might take a bit of practice if you're used to using peelers in the kitchen.
- Wrap the fingers of your dominant hand around the handle. The sharp edge of the blade should face you.
- Hold the item to be peeled securely in your other hand. Press it against your blade at an angle.
- Apply a bit of pressure on the blade to break the skin of the fruit. Don’t cut too deep — we only want to peel away the skin of the fruit, not cut the fruit itself.
- Work your way around the fruit in a continuous fashion such that the skin comes off as one long piece. (This isn’t mandatory. It’s just a degree cooler.)
If you’re like most lovers of shrimp, you’ve probably been under the spell of the classic shrimp scampi since the first time it landed on your taste buds. And plausibly so, what with the warm, buttery, garlic-kissed, wine-bathed goodness of the dish.
Before you fire up your skillet, you first need to devein your shrimp.
- Make an incision along the back of your shrimp.
- Use the blunt side of your knife to draw the “vein” from the shrimp’s cavity. Using the sharp side increases the risk of rupturing the vein and leaking its contents.
- Pull out the “vein” using your fingers and discard it.
You can use the seasoned ground meat inside sausage casings in different recipes. Bolognese sauce, anyone?
Tear along the length of the sausage using the tip. Just the tip — if you use a lot of pressure, you’re going to cut through the meat inside.
After cutting along the length of the casing, pull it off using your fingers.
To make a fresh, smooth tomato sauce or tomato stew, you’ll need to remove the core and seeds.
Cut into the top of your tomato, then push down to the midsection of the fruit. Hold the tomato firmly, and cut the core inside in a circular motion. Pull it out and dispose of it.
Culinary Cuts Best Suited for the Paring Knife
Have you ever come across a recipe that calls for “a chiffonade of basil” or any other leafy green?
Chiffonade is French for “little ribbons,” so a chiffonade of basil means little basil ribbons. Simpler than it sounds, yes?
Layout your veggie leaves on your chopping board and then roll them up tightly.
Cut up this roll into thin slices from one end to the other.
Image Source: Pinterest
And there you have your chiffonade of basil. Easy as pie.
The Julienne Cut
Julienning means cutting up your fruits or vegetables into long strips. This technique works well on salad ingredients like carrots, cucumber, and celery.
Slice up your carrots into thin rectangles. Next, cut these rectangles into ⅛-inch thick strips.
Image from: Pinterest
Every vegetable or fruit can be sliced.
For a presentable slice, the paring knife will give you excellent results. This is because of the level of accuracy it affords you.
Grab Your Next Paring Knife at Dalstrong Today
Think about all the meals you have to prepare using knives. Better yet, think about all the meal preps where you do not need one. Very few (if any), right?
A good quality knife has a significant effect on your overall cooking experience. There will be fewer slippages when cutting, and you’ll have better control of your cuts.
In other words, you’ll enjoy the process more.
We have the right tools for you. Whether you’re a professional chef or you're starting your culinary journey.