Here are my tips on how to be quick- I have tried many methods of onion cutting, and here's what I have found to be best!
First, cut off the two ends of the onion.
Next, with the onion sitting flat on your cutting board on one of its ends, make one clean cut down the middle:
Then, peel off the shell; I often tear off the outermost layer of flesh since that layer frequently is part good onion and part papery junk. It's crucial to have one solid, smooth layer to work with, and tearing off the papery parts but trying to leave the good parts, leaving an uneven & chunky outermost layer, isn't the best idea. Now you can lay one half of the onion down flat and get to work!
If you want strips, such as for fajitas, then just cut away and you're good! Make sure to cut perpendicular (opposite direction, at a 90 degree angle) to the natural lines on the outer flesh of the onion. Just break the onions apart with your fingers and you're good to go.
If, however, you want diced cubes, then this trick is MONEY! I can't lie- this part I noticed Guy Fieri doing once on The Food Network and it's genius. If you have problems with the pieces sliding all around, this will make your life so much better! Trust me!
With the onion flat on the board (just like before) cut parallel (same direction) to the natural lines on the onion. However, don't cut all the way to the other side of the onion- leave a little bit uncut at the end on each slice you make. Ever had the Bloomin' Onion at Outback? It's like that- the end of the cut onion is still attached. For more help, see picture below :)
Once you have your semi-cut onion, turn it and, just like slicing, cut perpendicular to the onion's lines. You should end up with lovely little cubes, as shown below! Seriously, I have gone almost crazy (and just about sliced a thumb off) trying to hold a slippery onion together in order to dice it up. Leaving the uncut part allows you so much more stability. I admit it, I'm a total culinary nerd, but I get excited just thinking about discovering this sweet trick :)
Now, I hate waste. I like to be budget friendly and throwing away perfectly good & usable food is not my idea of awesome. Remember how I get the little extra bits of bell pepper when I cap it? You might be a bit concerned about that uncut end of the onion, thinking, "What, do I just throw that away?" Of course not! When you can't dice anymore, just flip the end piece on its side and chop 'er up! You can even get the bits from the "caps" but... well, I hate waste, but I'm not crazy :) I've tried, but it's so annoying, with the paper, and the maybe tablespoon of actual onion I get. I just try to cut off as little as possible when I cap it.
All right! You can now be an onion master! If you have any other tips that work better for you, certainly share. I love to keep learning! And, really, if there's a superb no-more-crying tip I'll try to get over my skepticism ;)
Just a reminder- this week's posts are working together, one each day; tomorrow will bring the best tip for mushrooms that you have ever learned. Seriously. Don't miss it!