Mandoline at Work

product review: oxo mandoline slicer

Knife work is fun (to some people) but can sometimes be both time consuming and inaccurate, either of which can lead to a variety of problems.  Who hasn’t been the victim of unevenly cooked vegetable pieces or spilled blood on account of a straying blade? For many, mandolines can be a safer, faster and more enjoyable way to slice and dice your vegetables.

The mandoline is a tabletop tool with a stationary blade over which food items are sliced.  As a kitchen tool, it has been around for quite a while. The first recorded use of the tool was an illustration in the book printed in 1570 by Bartolomeo Scappi, Pope Pius VI’s cook. Today, there are hundreds of models to choose from. The Cupboard stocks four mandolines:  Oxo Good Grips V-blade Mandoline Slicer (which took Cook’s Illustrated reccomendation for best mandoline in Season 9 of America’s Test Kitchen), Oxo Steel Chef’s Mandoline Slicer, Swissmar V-Prep Mandoline Slicer and the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer.  We decided to test Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer and make a classic summer dish, Vegetable Gratin.

The slicer moved through summer squash and zucchini quickly and elegantly, cutting perfect, even slices with an ease that was truly refreshing.  It definitely removed any remains of prep-work gruel.  While we can’t recommend it for onions (the rings got a little frayed when we ran them across the blade) and have yet to try it on the ultimate of cutting tests, tomatoes, we liked this model quite a bit. The design is quite clever with folding legs and a food holder that snaps securely underneath for storage.  The blade slides out easily for cleaning.  One can also switch effortlessly from smooth to crinkle cuts, which is very fun for chips.  The dial on the side also allows the user to transition from thicker (3/8”) to thinner (paper thin) slices and from large to small julienne which is also extremely handy.

We found Oxo’s Mandoline Slicer to be the epitome of user-friendly and we love how it consistently produces flawless and professional results at home. At only 4 pounds and reasonably priced, this mandoline is a great addition to the average kitchen, for both novice and experienced home cooks. (Fans of Mario Batali might enjoy this video-Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer)

The recipe we used to test the slicer came from the July 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. It was a little time intensive to get the veggies to their most dehydrated state but the final product was lovely: perfectly cooked, exceptionally flavorful and not watery at all. Leftovers were splendid on a crisp piece of toast!

While you can find current issues of Cook’s Illustrated and an assortment of other popular food-related magazines in our store, Michael Natkin’s Herbavoracious and our other veggie-based cookbooks would also be worth a look. We can’t wait to use our new mandoline to slice purple potatoes for his Blue Potato Tarts with rosemary, chevre, and balsamic reduction. His recipe for Portabello and Summer Squash Lasagna would be similar to the recipe we used for the Gratin, too: healthy, hearty and totally meat-free.

The environmental, health, and economic benefits of eating more (local!) vegetables are undeniable but so is the fact that quick-cooking vegetarian dishes require more prep work. Investing in a mandoline slicer can eliminate the skill and time requirements that may be holding you back. Beyond that, we found the mid-grade Oxo model to be a good choice.

Stop by the store to see our collection of mandolines, cookbooks, magazines and everything else you’ve come to know and love.  We’ve got the tools and toys you need to enjoy the bounty of summer and to make the work of veggie slicing much easier.