parboil vs. steam

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phoebe, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    OK, you've got to understand that as an old(er) Sixties/Adele Davis person, parboiling any vegetable rather than steaming it just hurts my brain. There just are some of those old habits that run pretty deep (especially the ones I'm still capable of remembering :D ). So, please explain to me why I should parboil a vegetable rather than steam it. I'm making Marcella's "Cauliflower Gratinéed with Butter and Cheese," and the cauliflower needs a brief parboil before being baked.
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Assuming that by "parboiling" you mean dropping the veg into water at a rolling boil and fishing it out a minute or two later, to my mind the main difference is control: when you parboil, you know exactly how long the veg is cooking in the water; when you steam, the veg is exposed to the water longer as it heats so it's hard to know to what degree the veg is cooked. I don't think there's much difference in the nutritional effects. (But I could be wrong on that; if so, somewill will correct me. :) )

    Besides, if Marcella says to do something, it must be right! (even though she HATES lightly cooked, not-much-beyond-still-raw vegetables) ;)
     
  3. phoebe

    phoebe

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    What you said here, Suzanne, made me look at the recipe again. What I read as boiling the cauliflower for 30 seconds was 30 MIINUTES :eek: !
    Marcella really does like her vegetables beyond dead, doesn't she. :eek: ?

    But your explanation about control made perfect sense, so I parboiled them for about 1 1/2 minutes which I think will work just fine. I can live with that and I don't think Adele will turn in her grave. :D

    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. panini

    panini

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    Boy! you two are really getting casual with the names, eh? I have to say, if you need a little peace and quiet around the house, just boil up some Cauli. for 30 min. They usually run for fresh air, hood or no hood.
    Suz :D is right. Also the steaming is a longer and dangerous process. Martin says sirfry
     
  5. cape chef

    cape chef

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    "blanching" is. if this is what we are talking about is my preferred method because of the control (as Suzanne already mentioned) and the ability to season the water to penetrate the item being blanched. Par-boiling does not equate to "30 minutes" Cauliflower gratineed is a wonderful side dish, but I believe you want to maintain some of the texture of the vegetable.Also, does the recipe call for baking after the par boiling or simply running it under a salamander?
     
  6. phoebe

    phoebe

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    I did the parboil earlier in the day, and, well, I must say there was an interesting odor coming from the fridge every time I opened the door. I blamed the cats. :D

    CC: The recipe called for 15 minutes in the oven at 400. I'm not sure I can imagine what it would have been like if I'd followed the recipe as written. :eek: