To quickly cook food immersed in 212 degree water
Large pot of water, High burner, tool to remove boiled items or strain pot, salt, ice bath to shock after cooking.
- Fill large pot of water. Place covered over a high burner.
- When at a rolling boil, add enough salt to make the water taste noticably salty
- Carefully place food to be boiled in water
- Cook uncovered. When food is cooked to desired doneness, remove food from water and place directly in ice bath.
In recent times al dente vegetables have become the norm; however, this is a recent culinary trend. Generally, unless you were blanching tomatoes for tomato concasse or something like that, you'd be cooking your vegetables until they were tender. Even for al dente vegetables though, you want to have them in there for at least a 45 seconds to a minute. There are volatile acids in the outer skin of the vegetables that need to be released for them to achieve their fullest bright natural color, and those aren't going to be released with a 15 second dip. Also, it's imperative to blanch greens uncovered. The volatile acids that get released into steam, if not allowed to leave, will re-enter the water and kill all of that bright fresh green color and turn them into sad greyish looking things. It's also important to salt the water. Great restaurants such as the french laundry are known to make their blanching liquids 'as salty as the atlantic'. Blanching is a great opportunity to season these ingredients in your food and really wake up their flavor.