According to Wikipedia, “chiffon” is French for “rag” referring to the fabric-like strips that result from this technique. Wow, I didn’t know that. I always thought that chiffon referred to the sheer fabric that dreamy floaty evening dresses are made of.
Anyway, this is a food blog and not a fashion blog and this is about chiffonade and not chiffon. You can make a chiffonade of just about any leafy herb large enough to roll. The fine, fine slices when used to top soups and salads are not only pretty to look at but they make the experience of eating raw leaves less intimidating.
Here at home, mint and basil are the herbs that we often chiffonade. Note, however, that you can chiffonade just about any leafy vegetable that is soft and pliable enough to roll.
For this illustration, we’re using basil.
Start by stacking the basil leaves.
Then, start rolling them away from you. Roll as tightly as you can. Just keep rolling until you reach the opposite end of the leaves and you have a tight little package.
With one hand holding the rolled leaves tightly, start slicing as finely as you can. Keep slicing until all the leaves are transformed into miniature ribbons.
Now you’re ready to use your basil chiffonade. Just sprinkle the ribbons on top of your soup or salad and you have a dish that looks like it has been prepared by a seasoned pro.