I promised yesterday that I would post about the green beans in the picture below. So here it is:
This is a technique that works with pretty much any green vegetable, but is especially good with green beans and their cousins and any kind of leafy green: Boil some water, enough to add the veggie to with out overflowing the pot. Add in the veggies for a little bit, until their color darkens and they soften a little bit. This is really short (~15 seconds) for things like spinach, a bit longer (45 secs to a minute) for green beans, and even longer for a tough fucker like kale. Take the vegetables out and run them under clod water. Some recipes will tell you to plunge them into ice water. I think this is overkill.
Now you’ve learned how to BLANCHE!!!
Didn’t you always wonder what that meant? PARBOILING is basically the same thing. It’s just a process of partially cooking something so that it’s easier to cook using another method. In this case, that other method is SAUTEING.
Heat some olive oil in a pan. When it’s hot, throw in some sliced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds until it start to turn golden. Err on adding the vegetables too early, as garlic is easy to burn. Add in the vegetables and saute until they’re ready.
Until they’re ready? What kind of useless instruction is that? Well, sorry, it’s the best I can do. I think one of the most common mistakes rookie cooks make is being afraid to taste/poke/play with the food they’re cooking. Get a fork, take out a bean, and taste it. Too crunchy? Want more char on the outside? Cook it longer. Cooking is not a hands-off affair.
If you’re following this technique with leafy greens, remember that they will hold a lot more water. And wht does water do in hot oils kids? Spatter, spray, and burn your forearms. Therefore: Have a lid ready to cover the pan, protect you from sputtering oil, and help the greens steam a little bit. Things will calm down after a minute or two.
One last thing before this post gets ridiculously long: If you’re using a faster cooking green like spinach, there’s a short cut that can be take here. Skip the blanching and go straight to the garlic and oil. When the garlic is golden, add the washed, raw spinach straight to the oil. This could easily fill the pan! That’s ok. Don’t panic. Add a 1/4 cup of water and cover. Wait 30 second, and voila, the sinach will have wilted down to a manageable volume. This is faster than the above method an only involves one pan, but it really does only work for fast-cooking greens like spinach.
So: Eat your vegetables!