Blanching vegetables is a daily task for restaurant cooks. It is not only a quick way to cook veggies to tender perfection, but it also brings out the natural, beautiful color of the produce itself. Learning this easy process will ensure delicious, crisp vegetables every time. So here’s how to blanch veggies!
1) Bring Water to a Boil
– Start by filling a sauce pot with hot water, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Add a handful of kosher salt (you want the water to taste like the sea). Adding salt to the water will season the veggies that are being blanched.
2) Prepare an Ice Bath
– While the water is coming up to a boil, prepare an ice bath. The purpose of an ice bath is to stop the produce from cooking and to keep its bright color. Having an ice bath is key to the blanching process. To prepare the ice bath, grab a large mixing bowl and fill it about 1/2 way up with cold water and plenty of ice. You will also need a small strainer to transfer your hot veggies to the ice bath, so get that ready as well. Set the ice bath and strainer aside.
3) Prepare the Veggies
– Now that your water is coming up and your ice bath is ready, prepare your vegetables. Depending on the vegetable you are blanching, your prep will vary. For example, broccoli will need to be cut into florets and string beans will need their stems removed. Either way, take this time to prepare your veggies for blanching.
4) Blanch the Veggies
– Now that the salted water is boiling, your ice bath is ready and the veg is prepped, your ready to blanch. Start by dropping the vegetables into the water. Do not over fill the pot, or your water temperature will decrease and the blanching will be unsuccessful. Cooking time varies based on the produce, but it will be done blanching when the veg is bright in color and tender when poked with a pairing knife.
– Once they are finished cooking, quickly remove the veggies with a strainer (you could also use a slotted spoon or tongs) and immerse them into the ice bath. This is crucial to not overcook the veg! If you don’t use an ice bath, the color will turn dull in color and the veggies will become mushy. Let the vegetables cool completely, then remove and set aside until ready to serve.
*Cook’s Tip: You can reheat your veg by quickly submerging the veg in the salted blanching water. You can also reheat the veg by sautéing them with garlic, shallot, and/or some other seasonings and aromatics. You can even eat them cold in a sale or blend them into a smooth puree. The possibilities are endless with beautifully blanched veggies.