So another session of Culinary School has gone by and I've added another tidbit to my skillset. Now, what is a Tourné ? Basically, it's cutting a vegetable to a small oblong football shape roughly 2-3 inches in length. While it sounds like a waste of time (since it's only a garnish right?) it does elevate whatever dish it's paired with to another state. This technique transforms plain blocky vegetable cuts into something worthy of a fine dine meal.
It looks and sounds simple but believe me, the first time we made it, it was HARD. You face the dangers of the vegetable (or worse, the knife) slipping and injuring yourself. But I guess with enough practice, anyone can make beautiful tourne'd vegetables.
The vegetables that are commonly used are the following (ranked from easiest to toughest, in my opinion)
Now, as these are kind of thick, you can't just boil them or saute them in butter, there's also a technique that was taught in order for one to cook these vegetables properly.
First, cut a piece of parchment paper enough to cover your pan, and then punch a hole in the middle. Dump some water into the pan, put in the vegetables, add about a tablespoon of butter, then cover with the parchment paper. While this is heating up, the vegetables inside will cook and the water will evaporate through the hole you punched in the paper.
You can tell when the water is all gone when the pan starts to sizzle. When this happens, take out the paper and then saute the veggies in the butter as usual, seasoning to taste. To check for doneness, you can poke the Jicama with a paring knife and if there's little or no resistance, then it's done.
After that, you can enjoy the veggies on their own or add them as garnish to your main dish!
Whew, that was a mouthful. That sure takes buttered vegetables to a whole new level if you ask me.