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Taillage Practice I: Pickled Veggies and Bibimbap-Style Rice Bowls

November 5, 2010

Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Since starting school at French Culinary Institute three weeks ago, I’m haunted by taillage– ‐the practice of cutting vegetables into uniform shapes for aesthetic appeal and even cooking. When I say uniform, I don’t mean approximately uniform, but precise to the centimeter. You thought julienne meant thin slices? Well, generally speaking, you’d be right. For most folks out there (and for me when I’m cooking at home), a little variation in your “thin slices” certainly isn’t going to make or break your dish. But if you’re studying la cuisine française, you better get your metric ruler out. Because in case you were wondering, julienne is a 1-2mm square, 7cm stick. Exactly.

Needless to say, getting perfectly shaped jardiniere (5mm square, 5cm sticks), madecoine (5mm cubes), and brunoise (1-2mm cubes) cuts to fall effortlessly off your knife requires more than a little practice. I’ve been blowing through bags of potatoes and carrots, saving the trimmings for stock, vats of potato soups, and overall, am trying my best to keep my taillage practice out of the compost bin. But the trimmings keep coming, and there’s only so many root-veggie inspired dishes I can make in a week’s time.

Enter pickled veggies. I first wrote about these crunchy little treats a Banh Mi post a couple months back. As described in the recipe, the picking brine is simply equal parts sugar and rice wine vinegar with a good bunch of salt (1 tsp. or so per 1/4 cup vinegar). Tuck thin matchsticks of carrot (multi-colored you can get your hands on them!), daikon or turnip into the brine and pickle in the fridge for several hours, or ideally, overnight or longer. Keep in mind that the thinner your sticks, the quicker they will pickle (julienne), but if you want them to hang out in the fridge for a few days you might want a chunkier stick (i.e. madedoine) to maintain that oh-so-satifying crunch. I usually add some peppercorns and few dabs of sriracha sauce to the brine for some added spice, but go ahead and do as you will.

Anyway, once your fridge stocked up with these guys, you’ll find they’re perfect with cocktails, as a condiment for sandwiches, or straight out of the jar. If you happen to have some leftover rice kicking around, you might even consider composing a bibimbap of sorts. When Quincy and I were in Seoul last spring, we ate many versions of this tasty dish- ‐literally meaning “mixed rice” in Korean, the dish features a bowl full of rice topped with all sorts of yummy bits (veggies and sometimes meat), chili pepper paste, and very frequently, a runny egg to moisten the whole bit as you toss all of the ingredients together. Below you’ll find my version, made with chopped scallions, peanuts, fried shallots, a thinly sliced egg crepe, and of course, pickled veggies.

My take on bibimbap, while studying

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 9:19 pm

    I just started at FCI and I have to say. Vegetable tourner is kind of wild and crazy too. The chef showed us that he can pull off a decent tourner behind his back. >_< Thanks for the post!

  2. August 30, 2011 1:47 pm

    I am going through this experience right now!!

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