Transforming a few pounds of potatoes into thin, even rounds for a gratin or shaving paper-thin slices of raw fennel for a salad takes great knife skills, not to mention patience. The alternative? A mandoline. It easily turns fruits and vegetables into uniform slices or julienne sticks of almost any thickness and size with speed and precision. It’s safer to use than a handheld slicer because it has legs for added stability. And don’t forget the mandoline’s inimitable talent: crinkle and waffle cuts. Here are our favorites among the dozen we tested.
The Ultimate: De Buyer La Mandoline V Professionnelle
$190; Kitchenu.com (Update: This product no longer appears to be available. Visit De Buyer's web site for similar products).
Priced at the fantasy level, (but maybe you deserve it), this one’s for the cook who wants a top-of-the-line mandoline. The extremely sharp V-shaped blade slices smoothly and effortlessly, even with ripe tomatoes—the only mandoline we tested that can make that claim. It sits on its side at a comfortable 45-degree angle, has a large food pusher, and the insertion and removal of the slicing blades is intuitive and straightforward. The design of the stainless-steel pusher is a standout—it’s spring-loaded to maintain constant, even pressure on the food so you don’t have to. And it feels sturdy and natural as you move it. You can set up the handle for right- and left-hand use. Clear markings at the top of the mandoline help you gauge the thickness of your cut, and the crank that adjusts the thickness is easy to access and operate. This model also comes with lots of bells and whistles: a straight-slicing blade, a blade for crinkle and waffle cuts, and three julienne blades—4 mm (3/16 inch), 7 mm (1/4 inch), and 10 mm (2/3 inch), all easy to install. The V Professionnelle also comes with a demonstration DVD and a large hard-plastic travel case.