Today's tip

This technique keeps the vegetables bright in color, vibrant in taste, and crispy in texture, and helps them to retain nutrients.

Blanching vegetables means quickly boiling them, then draining them and tossing them into ice water. This technique keeps the vegetables bright in color, vibrant in taste, and crispy in texture, and helps them to retain nutrients. I always used to boil vegetables in salted water, but I have learned to salt certain vegetables after they are cooked, tossing them immediately after draining with medium-coarse salt while they are still steaming hot.

Does it make that much difference? It does; instead of making a saline solution out of boiling water that permeates the vegetable throughout, salting later allows the vegetable to retain its vegetable flavor. Then sprinkled salt adds another dimension of flavor. The timing of the vegetables is important: cooking them too long causes them to become mushy. You can also place them in an ice bath after boiling, which quickly cools the vegetables and halts them from cooking further. The vegetables that best respond to this method are string beans, broccoli, and zucchini, but I find it also works for cabbage, beets, chard, and other greens.