The chef knife is the most important tool in your knife kit. If one were to only own a single knife, a chef knife would be it. It can be used in 90% of kitchen tasks – prepping meat, fish, vegetables, herbs, and more.
When choosing a chef knife, fit is very important. A chef knife should feel like an extension of your hand. STEELPORT has put a lot of thought and decades of combined experience talking to customers about what they want in a knife, into creating our contoured handle design. The shape of a STEELPORT handle and the smooth hand polished transition to the bolster blade promotes proper grip, and lends itself to different hand sizes. The hand-polished spine and finger groove also eliminate any uncomfortable “hot spots” while in use.
A STEELPORT knife also has a taller blade to allow for space for larger hands so fingers don’t hit your cutting board with every cut.
Of course beyond the look and feel, a STEELPORT also stands out as the only American-made dropped forged carbon steel blade with an integral bolster available, besides a few custom-made or auction-only knives.
A delicious, classic, approachable dish that provides a fantastic opportunity to use your Chef Knife on nearly every ingredient, using a variety of cuts, is Ratatouille.
Some recipes (like this nice New York Times Ratatouille by Melissa Clark) call for roasting all of the vegetables separately, then all together, to create a more homogeneous stew-like dish. Our recipe below, created by our friend and recipe developer/food stylist Erica Von Trapp, was inspired by the vibrant colors of the vegetables to create a unique pattern (a sort of pin-wheel-meets-concentric-circle) with the vegetables cut into even ¼” rounds , placed over tomato sauce from edge to center in a FINEX cast Iron before baking the dish. And you can get creative with the design and styling of the vegetables to make your own unique presentation, which is another reason we love this dish.
Regardless of how you design the vegetable in your skillet or baking dish before they go in the oven, ensuring they are all cut to even thickness is essential for the dishes to bake evenly. Using a very sharp chef knife helps you achieve these precise cuts.
Ways we’re using a (sharp!) STEELPORT chef knife in this recipe include:
- Chopping onions – A sharp chefs knife gets the job done faster and with less mess, meaning less onion-related tears
- Slicing the zucchini, squash, and eggplant into even 1/4” disks
- Slicing seeded red bell peppers into 1/4” strips
- Smashing the garlic – Placing the blade of your chefs knife flat on the clove (sharp side facing away from you), then using the heel of your hand to press the blade down on the clove until the peel cracks and the clove is flattened
- Chopping fresh parsley – A sharp edge means you’ll cut the delicate herbs cleanly without squishing them, which can result in leave some of their flavor on the board
- Chopping rosemary and fresh thyme after removing the leaves from their stems with your hands
- Chiffonade fresh basil leaves – Only a very sharp knife will be able to achieve sliver-thin strips of basil that defines a Chiffonade cut without bruising or smashing the leaves
Having the right chef knife, especially for a recipe that requires many different cuts, makes preparing a recipe easier, more precise, and more enjoyable.
We would love to see your Ratatouille creations! If you make this dish (or your own creative variation), be sure to tag STEELPORTKnifeCo.
Video and photography by Polara Studio, Portland