As the weather warms up and farmers’ markets and supermarket produce counters are filled to overflowing, it’s time to celebrate the bounty with crudité platters and delicious dips.
Some vegetables, such as radishes and sugar snap peas, taste great just served raw. But hardier vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower florets, green beans, asparagus and even carrots taste better when they’re blanched. A quick dip in boiling water takes the raw edge off and makes these vegetables taste sweeter.
Blanched vegetables can also be used for cooking. I like to blanch green beans , then sauté them in olive oil. By blanching first, the beans cook more evenly, since they have had a head start through the blanching process, and cooking goes faster.
How to Blanch Vegetables
What you need:
Plenty of ice
Slotted spoon, small sieve or colander scoop
- Start a big pot of water boiling. While the water is heating, clean and prep your vegetables by washing, peeling and cutting into the size you desire. Keep size uniform for even cooking.
- Fill a large bowl with water and ice.
- When the water is boiling, carefully drop one type of vegetable into the water (you don’t want to get splashed) and watch carefully. The vegetable is ready when the color intensifies. For example, broccoli will go from a dull green to a bright green. This will take 30 seconds to a few minutes. You can also fish out a piece and taste for the desired texture. Do not overcook – the vegetable should taste like raw, only milder in flavor.
- When the color changes, immediately remove the vegetable with a slotted spoon and drop it into the bowl of ice water to shock the vegetable and to stop it from cooking from the residual heat.
- When the vegetable is no longer warm, drain out the water and pat dry with paper towels.
- I prefer to make a new batch of boiling water for each type of vegetable because I think the vegetable flavor transfers into the water. However, if you want to save time, go ahead and reuse the boiling water. Start with the lightest-colored vegetable first, such as cauliflower, since the water will begin to color from the vegetables, as new batches are added.
Note: Never blanch different vegetables together in the same pot. Each vegetable has its own unique texture and blanching time.
Now that you’ve blanched your vegetables, what are some good dips to serve them with?
- Fabulously Faux French Onion Dip, a recipe from former Biggest Loser dietitian Cheryl Forberg
- Hummus your Way
- Easy mayo dips that you can make with commercial mayonnaise or homemade
- Dried Tomato Almond Tapenade
- And the recipe from Lori’s post on Wednesday, Carrot Sesame Ginger Dip
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