Blanching Vegetables

by Table 301 - Soby's New South Cuisine, Tastemaker in Residence


Have you ever wondered why your broccoli or green beans end up either brown and tender or green but tough? On the other hand, when you go to your favorite restaurant, the vegetables are the perfect balance of bright color and crisp tenderness. The difference is that chefs use a technique called blanching (boiling) and shocking (quick chilling). The technique requires some extra steps, but is well worth the effort.

Follow these steps for perfect vegetables:

  1. Wash and cut the vegetable to the size needed for the dish you are making.
  2. Fill a pot with water. Use a pot large enough to hold two parts water to one part vegetables.
  3. Season the water with approximately 2 tablespoons salt per quart of water.
  4. Bring the water to a rapid boil.
  5. Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to hold the vegetables.
  6. Plunge the vegetables into the boiling water and boil until they have almost reached the desired level of tenderness (this time varies according to the vegetable per recipe).
  7. Quickly strain the water off of the vegetables.
  8. Plunge the vegetables into the ice water.
  9. When the vegetables are cold, remove them from the ice water and store refrigerated until needed.