French cooking techniques can be rather intimidating at first glance. After all, terms such as julienne, en papillote and chiffonade all sound complicated and carry a certain air of culinary sophistication. However, in reality many of these techniques are easy to learn and will make your meals look more elegant. One such technique is tourneeing, or the act of turning root vegetables into elliptical shapes that can be cooked more evenly. Hearty vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips are perfect for tourneeing. While this technique may be a bit time consuming for beginners, once you’ve mastered it, knowing how to tournee will add to the aesthetic and texture of dishes such as stews or roasts.
A guide to tourneeing
According to Recipe Tips, performing the tournee cut means first chopping your oblong vegetables into 2-inch segments. The next step requires caution. Pop Sugar advises using a paring knife if a tourner knife is not available. The source suggests placing the vegetable segment between your thumb and forefinger, then peeling the vegetable toward yourself, tapering it near the end. Repeat this process as you turn the vegetable segment around in your hand. A traditional tournee cut has seven sides, meaning you should make seven cuts in each direction, for a total of 14 cuts.
Ideally, after you have finished this process, the remaining segment of vegetable will have an elliptical quality, kind of like a miniature football. The Kitchn notes that two major challenges of tourneeing are creating minimal waste (only peeling off the skin), and making minimal cuts. With that said, don’t be surprised if it takes you more than 14 cuts to tournee a vegetable the first few times around. Though this process may sound like a lot of work, the uniformity of your vegetables ensures that a dish looks beautiful and cooks evenly.
Pop Sugar recommends saving the scraps to be reused for another purpose, such as a tasty slaw. While two inches is the most commonly used size for tourneeing vegetables, advanced French techniques also utilize larger and smaller vegetable segments for specific dishes. Though root vegetables are the usual choice for tourneeing, Miami New Times notes that other fruits and veggies, such as squash, apples, pears and zucchini, can be turned as long as they have a firm enough texture.