Sunday, March 14, 2010
I have taken to blanching vegetables in a large batch, one right after another on Sundays. I find that blanched vegetables look so much more appealing and if your fridge is stocked with them, you can just reheat either on the stove or in the microwave mid week to get a quick veggie to your dinner table. The trimming, rinsing and most of the cooking is already done for you. If you blanch them serially, the amount of time really in minimal for each vegetable. I, often (gasp) don't even change out the boiling water between veggies. I do, however, end with asparagus, as I think that is the most potent flavor in the bunch.
So... to blanch, you need boiling water (unsalted), fresh veggies, a careful eye and ice water.
Here I have started green beans in boiling water, for just a few minutes. The timing depends on the thickness of the bean and also your taste preference. I like to heat to change the taste from raw to just a hint of sweetness, but abhor flimsy, smushy green beans.
After a few minutes, pluck them out with tongs and plunge them into ice water. This stops the cooking process and protects that lovely green color you just obtained.
Now, after they are cooled down, you are done. Look at the before and after colors of the green beans. Wow!! Way better looking veggies!!
So you ask, what do I blanch: usually I blanch in this order: Sugar snap peas, Green Beans, Broccoli and then Asparagus. I don't know why they are all green vegetables or if you can blanch non-green friends, but this is just what I do. Another benefit of blanching is that they do seem to last longer than uncooked fresh veggies in your fridge. It must kill off some unmentionables that I don't want to even think about!