When chopping fresh herbs the most important tool you need is a sharp knife so you are slicing cleanly through the herbs and not simply pressing on them and tearing them (which a dull blade will do).
A dull blade bruises your herbs quickly, causing them to go black — not appetizing especially if you need to use them as a garnish.
Leafy herbs like parsley, tarragon, coriander
Start with a reasonable amount of herbs that you can tightly hold in your guide hand on a cutting board. You want to fold and “bunch” them into a tight bundle.
Think of your first pass as a “julienne” of the herbs, creating longer pieces.
Make sure that as you cut you use a smooth rocking motion and as much of your knife blade as possible — you want a slicing motion instead of a harsh chop that happens when you lift your blade.
Once you’ve done the first pass, turn your herb bundle and slice in the opposite direction (as if you were going to brunoise them) to shorten the pieces one more time.
If you still need the herbs chopped finer, spread them out so you have a thin surface (easy to cut through) and you can quickly go over them once or twice again.
Larger leaves like basil and mint
Larger leafs herbs like basil or even mint can be rolled up and sliced in a cigar shaped bundle.
This cut is known as a chiffonade.
Take 4 to 5 leaves at a time and roll them into a cigar shape. If the tip of the bundle is a little thin/loose, just fold it under before you slice.
Now smoothly and thinly slice through the “cigar” to get a fine ribbon-like result.
Rosemary and thyme
For rosemary and thyme, hold the top of the sprig and run your fingers in the opposite direction of growth to pull off the leaves.
You can gather the rosemary into a pile up and chop even finer.
Remember to only cut as much of an herb as you need. The rest you can wrap in a damp paper towel and store in the fridge.