To cook food immersed in 212 degree water.
Large pot of water, High burner, tool to remove boiled items or strain pot, and salt.
- Fill large pot of water. Place covered over a high burner.
- When at a rolling boil, add enough salt to make the water taste slightly (but noticably) salty (see below)
- Carefully place food to be boiled in water.
- Cooking time varies greatly for different foods. When food is cooked to desired doneness, either remove food from water, or dump contents of pan through a strainer/collander
It's always better to err on the side of too big/too much water than too little. The idea is to have the food sitting in water for the smallest amount of time possible. If you put enough food in to cool the water down, it's going to take that much longer to come back up, and you'll wait twice as long for an inferior product. Additionally, if you add more dried pasta to a pot than should be in there, there's less water for the extra starch to dissolve into and you'll end up with gluey sticky pasta.
There are a few exceptions to the salt step.
- If you've been diagnosed with, or are at risk for hypertension, or are just salt sensitive it may be omitted. In spite of the reactionary demonization of salt recently, most people are not salt sensitive and can handle moderate to large amounts of salt without a problem. The real killer is processed foods anyway. They'll sneak 10x the sodium into your diet that properly seasoned home made food will, and without adding any noticable flavor enhancement.
- If you are trying to cook the salt out of something that has been salt preserved
- If for some reason you've got salty ingredients in there