Clarification on Blanching

11
10
Joined Dec 16, 2001
I would like a clarification on blanching. I see it everywhere. Blanch the vegetables. That is fine, I just am not qutie sure what to do. I read that it is to put htem in boiling water then move them to iced water. I understand that, but if they are part of a warm meal....would I put them in the pan with the food, or in the oven, or what?

Thanks a lot...
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
He Retroguy.

You know you already answered your own question.
Yes, blanching is to "Par"off something before you are ready to finish it. Salted boiling water...into an ice bath is a way of blanching. That is probably what you are looking for.

If you are cooking something in seasoned water that you are going to serve ala minute..then you don't chill it. Cook it, drain it and finish it
cc
 
177
10
Joined Aug 14, 2000
A lot of recipes call for blanching and then chilling the product so that it can quicken the cooking process later on.
 
11
10
Joined Dec 16, 2001
Thank you for the replies, but I guess the "later on" is what I am trying to understand totally after chilling, what are the best ways to reincorporate it into the meal without it been cool or luke warm, etc...
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
When I'm cooking at home, I almost never blanch and shock (that's the ice-water bath). No need to, since I'm making the meal at that time and don't need to hold the veg. (Only exception is broccoli rabe, which I'll blanch to remove some of the bitterness when it's really strong. And even then, I don't shock; just drain well and toss in into a pan to saute.)

At work, though, it's standard practice to blanch and shock, especially veg like asparagus or green beans or carrots. Usually, as much as you'll need for the entire meal service -- typically several hours. We do it in restaurant kitchens so that we'll be able to put out the food faster, but still fully cooked and beautiful. What blanching/shocking does is cook the veg part way, and then stop the cooking process so that the veg is not overcooked in the end. It also sets the color so that it will still be bright and delicious-looking. The idea is that you will have it ready to "finish" -- that is, do the final cooking with its butter or sauce, or in the dish you're adding it to at the last minute. I guess if you were going to serve them "steamed" you could just drop them back into some boiling water until they're heated through.

The "how" of blanching is a lot like cooking pasta: lots and lots and lots of water, salted for flavor, at a rolling boil. (Lots of water means that it will return to the boil fast.) Dump in the veg. When time is up -- that's the tricky part -- scoop out the veg, or drain in a colander, and dump them in a big bucket of ice water. Swish them around until they're cold. Pull them out, drain them well, and put them in the container you'll use them from.

The timing depends on the veg. It takes practice and a lot of testing and tasting. You want the veg underdone, but still somewhat cooked. If you're doing it for yourself, just practice until you're satisfied. If you're doing it at work, have your chef or sous taste and tell you what's the desired degree of doneness.

Hope this makes it a little clearer.
 

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