And now for the blanching….
- 1 bunch asparagus – medium size is best, don’t use super thin spears
- 1 pot of boiling water
- Bowl of water and ice (optional)
- Trim the bottom, woody ends off the asparagus, about 3 inches, and discard.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, or whatever size pot you have that will best fit the size of the vegetables.
- Add the asparagus and leave in the water for about 20 to 30 seconds. Again, this depends on how thick your vegetable is. So, since this is a pretty quick step, stay close with a fork and test a spear at about the 20 to 30 mark to see how they are doing. If the fork goes through semi-easily, time to drain.
- One way to quickly cool down blanched vegetables is to submerge in an ice bath or “shock” them. This is done by filling a bowl slightly larger than your vegetables with water and some ice cubes. You don’t want the vegetables to overcook, and this helps to cool them down very quickly. Set up the ice bath beforehand and have it sitting on the counter by the pot. As soon as your asparagus are done, pull them out with tongs and place them into the ice water. The asparagus only needs to stay in the ice bath for a minute or so. Then take them out and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. This can now store in a container in the fridge for about a week. Serve with your favorite sauce or salad dressing. My favorite is this Sesame Ginger Dressing from Whole Foods.
- You can skip the ice bath step as well, which I often do. I sometimes just pour the pot into a colander and rinse the vegetables under cold water to help stop the cooking process. This wont cool the vegetables as fast, which means your asparagus will continue to get softer. Just be aware that you might want to drain them after being in the water for about 20 seconds.