best mandoline has
mandolines are durable enough to withstand pressure on the body as you slide
produce down the slicing plane and stay firmly in place. The blade should stay
sharp for several years.
safe cutting guard. Essential
for safety, the hand guard grips the food and presses it against the slicer, keeping
your fingers away from the sharp blade. In their review, America's Test Kitchen
says, "The safest guards were broad and ran smoothly along the slicing
track." They found those shaped like derby hats with brims wider than the
slicing plane felt far safer.
slicing. Whether it's
ceramic or stainless steel, the blade should cleanly slice produce without
having to push hard against the mandoline. The best mandolines deliver precise
cuts on both soft tomatoes and firm potatoes. Models with V-shaped or
diagonally slanted blades perform much better than the horizontal style.
height settings. The
thickness setting (blade height) should be easy to adjust and lock firmly in
place. Mandolines with pre-set increments are fast to set up but limiting. Most
experts prefer dials that let you select any cutting height and make fine
adjustments as you go.
cleanup. The best
mandolines have a body that washes easily and doesn't trap food in its
crevices. Look for dishwasher-safe models for fast cleanup, though some manufacturers
recommend hand-washing removable blades to prevent dulling.
before you go
What types of dishes are you creating? If you
need only an occasional slicer, consider a simple mandoline with a fixed
straight blade. For more complex dishes -- such as fries, chips, stir fry meals
and ornamental salads -- select a mandoline with replaceable straight, julienne
and crinkle blades.
How much cabinet space do you have? French-style mandolines tend be bulky and take considerable space to store.
They often measure 16 inches or more in length, though some have folding legs
for flatter storage. The most compact mandolines are hand-held models, which
have slimmer profiles and can fit in a drawer.
some scraps. Hand guards limit
slicing the entire vegetable because of their design. "Don't worry about waste when using a
mandoline. It's better to have a little left over than to run the risk of
cutting yourself," says a guide to mandolines at Williams-Sonoma.com.
Some chefs switch to a sharp knife to finish the remaining stubs.
Mandolines are extremely sharp. Owners
frequently are caught off guard when using this tool for the first time; learning
to clean and switch blades can be difficult without cutting yourself if you're
not careful. "One essential
accessory to slicers of all kinds should be the cut-resistant glove. Get in the
habit of using one, if you happen to value your fingertips," says Louisa
Chu at Chow.com.