All it takes is a really sharp knife.
Between the avocado burger bun that took over our Instagram feeds, the avocado rose that’s adorning toasts worldwide, and the avocado sticker that went viral on Reddit, we thought we’d reached peak avocado excitement. But Australian chef Kylie Millar just proved us wrong with her mesmerizing avocado photo that she posted on Instagram.
Millar captioned the photo, which has now garnered more than 23,000 likes, ‘Forget smashed avo....... next up is pixelated avo!!!’ One of Millar’s followers then posted the photo to the Oddly Satisfying thread on Reddit, where it quickly gained more attention (it has already received more than 13,500 “up votes”).
Reddit users began weighing in on how they believed the avocado was cut, with guesses ranging from Lego bricks to some type of wire mesh. But though the avocado does look like some sort of optical illusion, Millar simply used a sharp Japanese knife to achieve the mesmerizing effect.
Millar, who was a contestant on Season 4 of MasterChef Australia, told INSIDER that she used a Shun chef’s knife to create the brunoise-style cut (a French-style knife cut that measures 1/8” x 1/8” x 1/8”). But a fancy blade isn’t necessary to master this technique. All you need is a very sharp chef’s knife.
To maintain a sharp knife (which is much safer to use than a dull one), you’ll want to hone it with a honing steel, and sharpen it with a water stone or handheld tool (we like the AccuSharp). Honing is easy once you get the hang of it. Hold the steel vertically with your non-dominant hand, making sure the tip is secure on a stable surface. Then, using your dominant hand, hold the knife horizontally at a 20-degree angle and draw the blade down and toward you, across the steel, from the heel to the tip. After about 4 strokes, repeat with the other side of the knife.
If your knife slides right off the skin of an onion (or can’t cut cleanly through a sheet of paper), it’s time to sharpen it. If using a stone, soak it in water for a half an hour. Then, swipe the blade along the stone, keeping a constant 22.5° angle between your knife and the stone. It’s not hard to find. Hold your knife perpendicular to the stone: that’s 90°. Then angle it down about halfway for 45° and then halve again for 22.5°. If your knife is particularly dull, use the coarse side of the stone first, then finish with the finer side. After sharpening, wipe your blade free of any particles and hone with a steel.
Now you’re ready to tackle the avocado. You’ll have more luck cleanly slicing a slightly underripe avocado than an overripe one, so look for one that gives ever-so-slightly slightly when pressed. Slice the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit, pop out the pit, and carefully cut 1/8” vertical slices. Rotate the avocado, repeat with horizontal slices, and voila! Your very own pixelated avocado. Enjoy on toast, or use for guacamole.