Blanching is a classic cooking technique with many benefits — it takes the raw edge off veggies but preserves the vitamins and the taste. Blanching gives vegetables a lovely fresh and vibrant color. And it’s easy! You basically cook vegetables in boiling water very briefly; but there is an art to it, and it takes time to perfect. Here is how to do it right:
- Prepare: Slice the vegetables julienne style, like matchsticks. Dice or shell as needed.
- Boil: in fast-boiling salted water, tip the veggies one by one, starting from the light colored ones to the darkest. Leave them in for just 45 to 60 seconds, just until they brighten. Scoop them out, quickly, with a large slotted spoon.
- Shock: have a large bowl of ice water ready. Tip the veggies into this, until they are cool enough to the touch. This stops the cooking and starts the crisping process.
- Strain: quickly transfer the blanched vegetables to a colander, and shake gently over the sink to remove excess water.
- Pat dry: spread the vegetables onto a clean, large kitchen towel, and gently pat them dry. Loosely wrap them in the towel and chill them up to two hours.
Serve them on a platter with lemon wedges, coarse salt and vinaigrette. You can use the veggies as part of a salad or enjoy this colorful bounty as a light, lovely meal in itself.