The weather's gorgeous and no one wants to be indoors cooking for hours. Hence, blanching is the perfect vegetable technique for Spring. Many vegetables can be blanched in a pot full of boiling water until crisp and slightly under-done. Drain the vegetables and immediately plunge into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking and retain the bright color. You can cook several night’s worth of vegetables this way and store them in the fridge in containers lined with paper towel to capture the moisture.
To use, sauté vegetables in good oil or butter just until warmed through or toss them into a salad. Mix vegetables that are grown in the same season; they naturally taste delicious together.
Here’s a list of vegetables to use for blanching and fun combinations for sautéing. The italicised vegetables should not be blanched.
Asparagus, snow peas or sugar snap peas with:
- Green onion, shaved fennel and slivered ham or prosciutto
- Salted cashews
- Sugar snap peas and frozen petite peas, lemon zest
- Sesame seeds sautéd in sesame oil
- Green onion, lime juice, and chopped cashews
- Ghee or coconut oil with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper
- Cauliflower, mint & preserved lemon
- Garlic, olive oil and chili flakes
- Capers, toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts
Green beans with:
- Bacon and toasted walnuts or pecans
- Diced tomatoes, garlic and nicoise or black olives
- Caraway seeds
- Chick peas, Moroccan spices
Broccoli, cauliflower with:
- Garlic, crumbled (leftover) Italian sausage
- Raisins soaked in hot water then sautéed, blue cheese crumbles, pine-nuts
- Cauliflower with curry and raisins
- Sautéd mushrooms, shallots, basil, Pecorino
- Brown butter, pumpkin seeds, cumin
Blanched Spring Vegetables with Arugula, Olive Oil, Lemon & Cheese
Here's a quick, delicious, and very detoxifying salad that I love to make-
In a bowl, add a large handful of arugula per person along with a handful of blanched vegetables per person. Note that in the photo, I've used asparagus, snap peas and fava beans. Toss with just enough good quality olive oil to coat the leaves with no oil puddling at the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice to taste and toss with a spoonful of capers. Cover with a blanket of freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy!