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mezzaluna?

r
redgirl Aug 17, 2010 03:44 PM

i am toying with getting a mezzaluna? i have been on one of those chopped salad binges and realized i could do this myself at home. (wonder if i would qualify for the make 9 get the 10th free card at my own house). any recommendations on brand? do i need a curved bowl to go with it or just my regular cutting board?

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  1. w
    wattacetti RE: redgirl Aug 17, 2010 07:40 PM

    The only ones I've seen outside of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver programs are inexpensive and come with a cutting board with a concave indent. Edit: they were no-name as well, with blades made in China.

    It's by sheer coincidence but this post showed up just under the "most useless gadget" thread, which makes me ask why you need a mezzaluna when oh an existing knife and cutting board would do just as well (likely better) at making chopped salads.

    1. sherrib RE: redgirl Aug 18, 2010 12:11 PM

      http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

      1. scubadoo97 RE: redgirl Aug 19, 2010 02:25 PM

        Most people I know that have them don't use them. Maybe at first as a novelty but in the long run there is nothing you can do with the mezzaluna that you can't do with a chef's knife and flat cutting board.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97
          BobB RE: scubadoo97 Aug 20, 2010 12:47 PM

          My thought exactly. I can make a huge pile of chopped veggies in no time with a big flat board and my trusty 10" Sabatier.

          The only time I've seen one used for a purpose that wouldn't work as well with a chef's knife was when my mother used to make chopped liver in a low wooden bowl with hers - the combination of chopping and scraping lends itself particularly well to the mezzaluna, and the process delivers a more nuanced and less pureed consistency than doing that in a food processor. But I don't do that sort of thing often enough to justify buying the knife and bowl.

          1. re: scubadoo97
            c oliver RE: scubadoo97 Aug 25, 2010 02:58 PM

            Yep. I got rid of mine years ago.

          2. kaleokahu RE: redgirl Aug 19, 2010 08:12 PM

            I have done what you are thinking about. Worked out well.

            $5 for a large, thin, carbon-steel dough cutter blade that already had a little belly on it, maybe a little more than an Alaskan ulu profile, but same style handle. Even ground in a little more roundness into its profile and sharpened it up good. Then I had a good sized chunk of butcher block, maybe 2 feet square and 4" thick. With a compass-type scribe, you then lay out where you want the "bowl" to be, 1-2 inches wider than the distance the blade will rock (I put mine relatively close to an edge, not in the center, but more on that later).

            So much for the easy/safe part. You CAN do the next step with a simple 4.5" angle-grinder wheel or a RO sander, but it takes a LOOOOOONG time to dish out the bowl. But if you are either VERY careful and/or crazy, you buy a woodcarving tool called a "Lancelot". The Lancelot is basically a very short CHAINSAW blade that mounts on a disc you chuck up on your selfsame angle-grinder. Use the guard, practice on a piece of scrap lumber, go slowly, and BROOK NO DISTRACTIONS. You will find that with a little practice you can actually do fairly fine work, especially on hardrock maple. When you have it roughed out deep enough to satisfy you, go back with finer sandpaper and smooth it out, add a little mineral oil, and you're done.

            Now then, I DO use my Hillbilly Mezzaluna quite a bit. I find it works better than a knife for minces, principally because the mince falls off the blade BACK INTO THE BOWL, rather than getting spread over Hell's Half Acre. However, Scoobadoo is partially right insofar as I think it's more efficient to do coarser dices with a knife and THEN simply scrape it over into the Mezzaluna bowl for mincing. Since I'm right-handed, I located the bowl 'way right of center so I could just push the food away to the right. If you are working with two minces of the same size just fill 'er with both dices and start rocking.

            Good Luck. And keep all your fingers.

            4 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu
              BiscuitBoy RE: kaleokahu Aug 20, 2010 09:36 AM

              not sure I would really use it, but sounds cool, let's see a picture!

              1. re: BiscuitBoy
                kaleokahu RE: BiscuitBoy Aug 25, 2010 11:01 AM

                Sorry this took so long, the board was at my beach house. Here you go.

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: kaleokahu
                  BiscuitBoy RE: kaleokahu Aug 25, 2010 11:47 AM

                  Outstanding

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    hillsbilly RE: kaleokahu Sep 1, 2010 12:21 AM

                    oh yes, yours _is_ outstanding!
                    I appreciate your beautiful work but I still won't use one. :P

              2. s
                sparkareno RE: redgirl Aug 20, 2010 10:41 AM

                I have one with double blades and the food always gets stuck in there. I rarely use it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sparkareno
                  r
                  redgirl RE: sparkareno Aug 20, 2010 11:42 AM

                  lol i give! i just read the most useless gadgets post!

                2. j
                  JBinGR RE: redgirl Aug 27, 2010 05:36 AM

                  I brought an ulu back from Alaska, and like most of the other posters, it just sat unused taking up space...until I had a brainstorm a few weeks ago. I was making spanakopita and needed to chop up a TON of spinach, which was packaged prewashed in those big rectangular plastic clamshells. I didn't want to have it flying all over my counter, so in a fit of inspiration I grabbed my ulu and just chopped it all right there in the container. It was just the right width to be able to chop up and down the length of the clamshells. I don't know that I'd say this use justifies buying a mezzaluna, but if you've already got one it is a nice way to feel like it was a worthwhile purchase.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JBinGR
                    Manassas64 RE: JBinGR Aug 27, 2010 06:01 PM

                    I have the Nigella one, there are 2 versions, one solid stainless and one with wooden handles. I have the solid stainless. I like it, but I only use it if I'm chopping 3 or more herbs at a time.

                    I got it on clearance at Marshall's so I don't mind that it's a $5 dust collector ;o)

                    1. re: JBinGR
                      flourgirl RE: JBinGR Sep 1, 2010 08:08 AM

                      I have an ulu too. And don't ask me why, but that's the only thing I use when I chop chicken and lettuce together for my chicken salad. It might just be my imagination but I just can't seem to get the same texture in the salad as when I use a knife.

                    2. c
                      che74 RE: redgirl Sep 23, 2010 06:15 PM

                      Got a $20, 8 inch one with 2 wood handles from Amazon on my sister's recommendation about a month ago, and I am in love with it. Great for making pesto (really, there is a difference between this and the Cuisinart zap). Also, it is great for rough-chopping ancho peppers that I roast and put in bean dishes, etc. Tip: get an 8-incher with a wood handle on each end, try to pay < $20. I was very skeptical but am now sold. Nothing against knives, but walking a mezzaluna across a cutting board reduces a big job into a very small job.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: che74
                        BobB RE: che74 Sep 24, 2010 06:51 AM

                        Nothing against mezzalunas either - if you like it, go for it - but I think that depends somewhat on your knife technique. Walking a large, well-balanced slightly curved chef's knife across a cutting board can be just as fast if you know how to do it. My wife, who REFUSES to listen when I try to explain the purpose of a chef's knife, uses an 8" utility knife for just about everything. I can mince a handful of garlic cloves practically to paste in the time it takes her to cut them into quarters.

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