Easy steps for perfectly blanched veggies.
Blanching and shocking allows you to partially cook vegetables and cool them quickly so they retain their crunch. Use blanched vegetables in salads, pasta dishes, and as appetizers with dips.
1. Blanching and shocking can be used to cook almost any vegetable. We have chosen to use green beans to illustrate the method. The green beans have been washed, and the ends have been cut off.
2. Prepare a pot of boiling water and an ice bath (a bowl full of ice and water). You can add salt if you wish -- salt will permeate the outer walls of the vegetable being blanched and enhance the flavors -- but salt also breaks down the vegetables over time and causes them to become mushy.
3. Place your vegetables a few at a time into the boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Keep the water at a consistent boil. Test the vegetables for doneness after a minute or so; green beans should be crisp, yet cooked. To test larger vegetables like broccoli, insert a small sharp knife into the thick part of the stem. If the broccoli clings to the knife, it needs more time. If the knife slides in and out easily, the broccoli is ready to be shocked.
4. Once you have established that the vegetables are cooked, quickly remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath (this act is called "shocking"). Immersing the vegetables in ice water will halt the cooking process completely.
5. Keep the vegetables in the ice water long enough for them to cool completely, then drain them well. If you remove the vegetables from the ice bath before they finish cooling, they will continue to cook from the inside out resulting in a mushy finished product.
You can try out your new skills with this delicious vegetarian menu, featuring flavors from around the globe.
Browse these articles and links for more ideas for your blanched veggies: