L.A. Times Test Kitchen Tips: The art of blanching
In the kitchen, blanching -- submerging meats, vegetables or fruits briefly in boiling water -- is used for many reasons. Blanching can bring out the vivid colors in vegetables, taking a dull green or lackluster orange and bringing out a vibrant shade. It can help loosen the skins of tomatoes and peaches so they're easier to peel. And a quick dunk in boiling water can cook delicate meats and fish.
When blanching, use a large pot of water so the temperature doesn't drop dramatically when the food is added. Too small a pot (or too little water) and the added ingredients can reduce the temperature of the water below a boil.
Also be sure to have an ice bath (a large bowl or pot of water with plenty of ice) handy to "shock" the ingredients after they are blanched, lowering their temperature quickly so blanched ingredients do not continue to cook. (One last tip: When shocking an ingredient in an ice bath, be sure to remove it as soon as it is cool -- leaving an item in an ice bath for too long can cause it to become waterlogged.)
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times