Using Cooked Vegetables in Salads

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About
For use in salads, different vegetables require particular preparations and seasonings. Because they are going to be served cold or at room temperature, each vegetable must have its flavor reinforced with more seasoning than is used for general cooking. Following are some of the most common salad vegetable preparations:
  • Artichokes (artichauts): Artichokes may be served whole, or the trimmed bottoms may be served alone. If preparing whole, trim the artichoke and cook it à l’anglaise. Artichoke bottoms or hearts are usually cooked dans un blanc. They are usually served with a mustard vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based sauce.
  • Asparagus or leeks (asperges or poireaux): Using kitchen twine, tie the asparagus or leeks in small bunches, taking care not to break the asparagus heads, and cook the vegetables à l’anglaise. The vegetables are tied to maintain their shape and form. Drain well and carefully refresh under cold running water. Dry well on clean kitchen towels. Either vegetable can be served with a vinaigrette, mustard, mayonnaise, or mousseline sauces.
  • Beets (betteraves): In France, beets are often found precooked and vacuum packed for use in salads. In America, they are usually found either fresh, frozen, or canned. To prepare fresh beets for use in a salad, place them, skin on, in cold salted water and simmer for about 45 minutes or so, depending upon their size, or coat them lightly with olive oil, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and roast in a preheated 177°C (350°F). Once cooked, slip off the skins and cut the roots into the desired shape. Season with a vinaigrette, dressing, or with fresh herbs.
  • Cauliflower (chou-fleur): Cauliflower should be cooked à l’anglaise just until it is slightly crunchy. It should not retain any cooking water. Drain well, refresh, and, if desired, pull apart into small florets. Season with a mustard and herb vinaigrette, or a mustard or mayonnaise sauce.
  • Celery hearts (coeurs de céleris): Celery hearts should also be cooked à l’anglaise, with lemon juice added to the water. They are served whole, seasoned with a mustard or herb vinaigrette.
  • Hearts of palm (coeurs de palmier): Hearts of palm are usually purchased cooked and canned. They may be minced, sliced, or served whole with a mustard vinaigrette or flavored mayonnaise.
  • Red and green bell peppers (poivrons rouges et verts): Bell peppers may be served raw or cooked. To serve peppers raw, peel them using a vegetable peeler, cut them in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the seeds and white membrane. Cut the pepper halves into julienne and marinate in a mild vinaigrette. To cook peppers, roast the whole pepper under a broiler or over an open flame until the skin is completely charred. Immediately place the charred peppers in a bowl, tightly cover with plastic film, and allow to steam for at least 10 minutes. Remove the plastic film and, working with one pepper at a time, push the skin off by scraping with the back of a paring knife or rubbing with a paper towel. The peppers may then be cut in half lengthwise, and the stem, seeds, and white membrane removed and discarded. The peppers may be left in halves, or cut into julienne or pieces and marinated in a vinaigrette, or simply seasoned with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
  • White beans and lentils (haricots blancs and lentilles): Prepare dried beans and lentils seasoned with mirepoix vegetables, bacon, and a bouquet garni with garlic and extra peppercorns for use in salads.