I’m a little hesitant to provide kitchen tips or advice because I have no deep knowledge or magic tricks. There are a few little shortcuts and easy-makers that I’ve picked up over time, and I know you have some too. Generally speaking though, I assume that anything I know about is probably common knowledge.
Except what if it isn’t? What if I’ve been holding onto the holy grail of culinary time-savers? Prolly not, but I’ll share just in case.
Today’s tip is about blanching multiple vegetables quickly and easily.
Sometimes a recipe or crudité platter calls for more than one kind of blanched vegetable. This task used to take me forever, fishing the veggies out with a slotted spoon, sometimes refilling and reboiling the water several times in between. Then I got wise.
My tip is two-fold: 1) Plan ahead the sequence in which to cook the vegetables; and 2) Use a colander inside the pan of boiling water to facilitate the in/out of the veggies.
- Think about which vegetables are the most delicate or mild-flavored or pale-colored and do those first.
- Finish up with vegetables that have a strong flavor/aroma (such as asparagus or cabbage) or which leech color (carrots) or which will leave little bits behind (I’m looking at you broccoli!)
About the colander:
- Fill a saucepan (big enough to hold your metal colander) about 2/3 with cold water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Load up the colander (outside the water pan) with the first round of veggies. When the water’s boiling place the colander inside the pan. Let the water come back to a boil and cook the vegetables per recipe instructions.
- Generally speaking, a delicate/thin veg might take as little as 30 seconds to 1 minute. Heartier vegetables take more time. Piercing with a fork or tasting is how to test for doneness. For green beans I start checking at about 2 minutes; for carrots I’ll start @ 3.
- When done, lift the colander out of the water pan and transfer it to the ice water bath. You can either put the colander right in the ice water or tip the cooked vegetables directly into the cool bath.
- Restock the colander with the next round of vegetables and repeat, making sure that the water returns to a boil in between acts.
And that’s it. See? It’s pretty simple but to me, the first time I figured that out … well, I had a moment. The moment quickly turned into a scolding – why didn’t you think of this years ago?? And then it turned into a moment again – eh, better late than never.
I’d like to hear some of YOUR aha kitchen moments. What’s your best kitchen tip? Tell all in the comments.