Step 1: Gather Herbs
To finely chop leafy herbs like parsley, cilantro, or basil, gather the herbs into a tight ball using your fingertips.
Step 2: First Slices
Hold the ball of herbs with the fingers of your non-knife hand, making sure to curl your fingertips underneath your fingers, and keeping your thumb tucked inside in order to avoid cuts. Hold the knife against your knuckles, and start cutting the herbs with a forward and back rocking motion, feeding more herbs into the blade with your non-knife hand as you go.
Step 3: Fine Chopping
Hold the tip of your blade firmly against the cutting board with your non-knife hand, and finish chopping the herbs by rocking the blade up and down over them until they are minced as finely as you'd like.
Step 4: Transfer
Transfer your herbs to your dish or to a sealed container using a bench scraper. Do not use your knife to pick up the herbs from the cutting board. This can dull the blade's edge.
Step 5: Store
Store chopped herbs in a sealed container underneath a layer of damp paper towels in the refrigerator. Use chopped herbs within two days.
To Chiffonade, Step 1: Gather and Align
To chiffonade (make fine strings) broad leafy herbs like mint or basil, start by gathering five to ten leaves in a pile, keeping their center ribs in alignment.
To Chiffonade, Step 2: Fold
Fold the leaves over crosswise (so that center rib still forms line down center of pile) and hold them firmly on your board with your non-knife hand.
To Chiffonade, Step 3: Slice
Slice the herbs as finely as possible by placing the tip of your knife at a spot about 6-8 inches away from the herbs, and slowly pulling the knife back towards you, again using your knuckles as a guide. The goal here is to slice, not chop. The movement should be mostly forward and backwards, not up and down, which can crush the herbs instead of slicing them.
To Chiffonade, Step 4: Stop at the Rib
Continue slicing until you reach the center rib. Leave the center rib intact. Flip the pile over so that the other side is now exposed to your knife blade.
To Chiffonade, Step 5: Slice Second Half
Continue slicing the second half exactly as you did the first, once again stopping when you reach the central rib, which should at that point be only a sliver. Discard the rib.
A Chiffonade of Mint
The central ribs of the herbs (on the left) can be tough, and should be discarded or added to stock for flavor. The tender outer sections of the leaves should be sliced into fine threads. Because of the fine size of the cut, a chiffonade should be used within hours of the time it is cut. Store the chiffonade in a sealed container under a layer of damp paper towels in the refrigerator.