In culinary terms, to chiffonade is to slice leaves of lettuce or herbs into thin ribbons. It's a decorative and functional technique to master. Shredded lettuce makes an airy and attractive bed for food; fills out items like wraps, sandwiches and tacos with manageable bites; and creates an easily tossed salad.
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If you're working with a head of lettuce, remove and discard the outer leaf. Peel off the individual leaves, taking care not to tear them. Submerge unwashed lettuce leaves in a large bowl of cold water and swish them around to loosen dirt and debris. Take the lettuce out of the water, rinse it off and pat it dry with paper towels.
Stack up to 10 leaves of lettuce on top of one another other, or start with fewer leaves if you're a novice knife user. Roll the stack of lettuce as tightly as possible into a cigar shape; leafier lettuce rolls tighter, but be careful not to snap crisper varieties like iceberg or romaine. Pinch the roll closed at one end and position it so it points to your left and right. Starting at the opposite side from where you're holding the roll, use a sharp nonserrated knife to make perpendicular cuts. The closer together your cuts, the thinner the resulting shreds. After you chiffonade the entire roll and repeat with additional rolls, gently pull apart and fluff the lettuce ribbons.