The turning vegetable slicer can be described as a rotating mandoline. It is a tool that looks like a lathe. On the fixed end is a short holding shaft and one fixed knife blade and one toothed blade. On the moveable end, which rides on a track, is a crank that turns another short holding shaft. Aligning a veggie between the holding shafts and turning the crank results in a spiral cut of the veggiecurly strands of cucumber, potato, sweet potato, daikon, radish, carrot, jícama, cabbage, onion and the likeas the veggie is cranked and pushed through the blades. The result is a double cut veggie, sliced and shredded. The Japanese came up with this machine to produce spaghetti-like strands of veggies for use as decorative garnish, delicate steamed veggies and fine textured raw vegetable side dishes. Here at home, the machine is used for all of the above, for carrots to add to coleslaw, and to make potato mats. Here’s how to make potato mats:
· Peel a potato and hold in cold water to prevent discoloration
· Dry off the potato and crank it through the slicer using the medium tooth blade
· Place the potato strands on paper toweling and dry again
· Shape and press the strands into a mat and sauté in butter or EVOO until nicely brown
· Place the sauté pan in the oven and bake the potato mat until done Serve the mats as a nicely textured breakfast side of potatoes or put eggs on top. For lunch, if made small and thin, the mats can be stacked with layers of seasoned and dressed roasted or grilled veggies. Likemat/roasted red peppers/mat/grilled mushrooms/mat/zucchini/mat/egg plantyou get the idea. Of course, the whole stack collapses when attacked with a fork. Great fun for lunch or as an appetizer if made smaller. There are two vegetable slicer machines available. The green machine (shown above) imported from Japan by Benriner Co Ltd, and the Le Rouet from Bron-Couke. The Benriner (photo above) and the Le Rouet are available in some specialty kitchenware shops. The Benriner sells for $60 to $100, depending on where you find it. The Le Rouet goes for an astronomical $190. I bought the Benriner while at cooking school and use it now and then on potatoes when we make breakfast for overnight guests. I have also made the vegetable stack, a school recipe, as a special lunch dish. Frankly, this is a specialist’s tool. Nice to have when you want to show off or are in the mood to go fancy.