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Learn how to hold a chef's knife the right way, then use your skills to make this vegetable salad

Learn how to hold a chef's knife the right way, then use your skills to make this vegetable salad
Are you holding your chef's knife correctly? (Los Angeles Times)

The chef's knife is one of the most common tools in the kitchen, but not everyone knows how to hold the knife the right way. Where and how you hold your blade determines your level of control.

To maximize control, "choke up" on the knife. Bring your hand up the handle of the knife so that it straddles the bolster (that thick piece of metal where the end of the handle meats the end of the blade), with your index finger and thumb gripping the blade itself.

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Check out this video for a quick demonstration:

Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter shows how to hold a chef's knife.

The bolster gives the knife balance and helps to keep your hands from slipping over the handle onto the blade. Holding the knife there will help to give you more control of the blade than simply gripping the handle itself.

Choking up on the knife may feel awkward at first, but you'll find it gets easier — and feels more natural — with repetition. You also may find your hand is less tired after working in the kitchen.

Want to practice your newfound skills? Give this salad recipe a try:

BLD's fresh vegetable salad
BLD's fresh vegetable salad (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

BLD'S FRESH VEGETABLE SALAD

Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from BLD in Los Angeles. Hemp seeds can be found at select well-stocked markets as well as most health food stores.

SALAD DRESSING

1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons sweet rice vinegar

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1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup canola oil

1. In a blender, grind the ginger, shallots and rosemary to a paste.

2. Add the soy sauce, honey, vinegar and lemon juice to the ginger mixture and blend until fairly smooth.

3. With the blender running, slowly add the oil. This makes about three-fourths cup dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The dressing will keep, up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

FRESH VEGETABLE SALAD

2 cups shelled edamame beans

1 cup raw fresh yellow corn

2/3 cup diced avocado

2/3 cup toasted and salted cashews

1/2 cup sliced or diced roasted and peeled red bell peppers

1 1/2 cups French green beans (haricot verts), blanched, shocked and chopped

2 cups diced jicama

1/2 cup salad dressing, more as desired

1 cup daikon sprouts

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

In a large bowl, combine the edamame, corn, avocado, cashews, peppers, green beans and jicama. Add one-half cup of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste, and add additional dressing if desired. Divide the salad among 4 plates and garnish with the daikon sprouts and hemp seeds. This makes about 8 cups salad. Serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: 387 calories; 14 grams protein; 29 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 26 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 306 mg sodium.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

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