Technique #126 Vegetable Salads (Salades de Legumes)

My blundering stumbling tripping journey into the culinary arts is Salades de Legumes or Vegetable Salads. This is technique #126 from Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques.

Now the tricky part about this here technique is that its actually four techniques. There are four different vegetable salads listed here; String beans and Tomato Salad, Beet Salad, Zucchini Salad, and finally Carrot Salad. 

I have actually done two of four techniques, well, one and a half. I'll blog the other one another time but this time on the red carpet it is......drum roll please.......zucchini. That's right. It's summer and one of the best fresh foods that says summer to me is zucchini. Versatile, super green, filling yet light. I loves me some zucchini. 

So Zucchini Salad it is. Or, as Jacques would say Salade de Courgettes. I was very proud, by the way, when my wife and I were watching one of Gordon Ramsay's many UK shows (Best Restaurant) and they started talking about courgettes and I knew just what they were talking about. 

So first step? Get some yummy zucchini from the farmers market. I got some delicious zucchinis from Oak Hills Farm at the Pearl Brewery farmers market. 

Next step is to cut the top and bottoms off. 

Next step cut each one into roughly 2" sections. 

Then cut lengthwise (as in set them up vertical and cut from top to bottom) into quarters. 

Then slice off the seeded sections (at the tip of the quarter). 

Looking at them side by side (before and after) they should look something like this. 
Trimmed (left) and Not trimmed (right)

The above part, trimming the seeds, is something I might disagree with Jacques about. I don't know if there is a reason why. That is to say, am I removing them because they (the seeds) somehow impact the taste, the cooking, or the texture? OR does he suggest doing it because that is simply the way the french have always done it. I don't know. Sorry if I built you up thinking I was going to answer those questions. I really would sincerely like to know. My apologies for misleading you into thinking I had any clue about what I was doing. 

The reason I question it is because to me the seeds don't do anything to detract from the flavor. Also, trying to trim out the seeds resulted in cutting away quite a bit of flesh. But if that's what Jacques wants then that's what Jacques gets. 

Next step is to lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Then pop them into a preheated oven at 425 degrees. Oh shit, I guess I should have told you to do that at the start. Oh, by the way preheat the oven to 425. You'll need it in about.......um...zero minutes.

Well you only want to have it in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Just long enough for the zucchini to start sweating. What do I mean by sweating? Check out the pic below. Can you spot the sweat?

Ok, how about I help you. Now can you see it? Relax, its not real sweat. That is, not people sweat. Just the moisture being pushed out of zucchini. 

Once they cool off (yes, this is a "room temperature" dish) toss the zucchini 1 tablespoon olive oil (or peanut oil), 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Now that's what the recipe called for. I actually used 2 teaspoons of olive oil (2/3 tablespoon for those that can't Google). I probably could have gotten away with one teaspoon of olive oil. 

Even with two teaspoons of olive oil (to me) it was a bit oily. Throw in a wife who isn't crazy about olive oil and you're bordering on disaster. 

All in all though it really is a very fast, very summery, and very delicious dish. I highly recommend. 


  1. Wow, love your culinary techniques! This salad sounds too good! I am so glad that I found your blog!!

  2. Love reading your post, thanks for sharing these cooking techniques. I would like to thank you for liking my Jam recipe :)

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