Blanching is a technique that every chef should learn. It's simple, quick, and can make your food look and taste better. The technique, which involves a combination of boiling and an ice bath, seals in the color, flavor, and nutrients of the vegetable. For those on low fat or oil diets, many cooks use blanching as a way to reduce the time a vegetable needs to be stir-fried and is in contact with oil.
The steps for blanching are simple. All you'll need are:
- A big mixing bowl full of ice water
- A stock pot for boiling water
- Bring the stock pot full of water to a rolling boil. Remember, never add salt to the water unless it is boiling. This will damage your pan.
- If your vegetables are not uniform size, cut them into similar size pieces to ensure even cooking across each piece.
- After the water comes to a boil, add salt and then the vegetables.
- Use a slotted spoon to test the doneness of your vegetable throughout the process. After about a minute, remove one vegetable and give it an ice bath, then take a bite. Repeat this every 30-60 seconds until you achieve desired texture. This generally takes 2-5 minutes.
- When your vegetables are ready, shock your vegetables by moving them from the boiling water directly and quickly into the ice bath. A slotted spoon or quickly straining the water can help with this.
- If you desire, you can finish the veggies with a frying pan or by baking them. This can help add some further crispiness to the outside.