The first thing Ina Garten learned after entering the food business

One of the first things Garten learned, according to her clip on how to make smoked salmon with dill and pernod, is how to properly cut smoked salmon. The store sold fresh breads, meats and cheeses, with lox on a bagel being a common order. The tedious task didn’t come so naturally at first, requiring an extremely sharp knife in order to cut paper-thin slices out of a somewhat slimy fillet of fish. In fact, there is a specific knife designed to cut salmon for the most precision. Garten compares using a chef’s knife to cut salmon to having surgery with a screwdriver – it’s better to invest in a good salmon knife that’s flexible, thin and super sharp.

When slicing, it’s best to cut at an extreme angle rather than down (via Lochfyneoysters). Slanting will give you larger, thinner slices that will cover more surface area on a sandwich, while still including some of the seasoning that is on the fish. It is practice makes perfect. Another good tip is to have a towel nearby to clean your hands, as the oils from the fish can cause your knife to slip. After 20 years, Garten says it’s like riding a bike. “Once you’ve mastered it, you never forget how to do it.” Is it easy?

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