Blanching isn’t too complicated. Simply bring a big pot of salted water to a rolling boil, plop in your produce for maybe a minute, then give them a nice shock in an ice bath. The result: bright, evenly seasoned vegetables that still retain some bite.
So, yes, blanching is straightforward, and I’m fully confident any home cook could master it. But what if I told you there was an even more streamlined way to get a similar effect?
Rather than pulling out the tongs, a boiling pot, an ice water bowl, and a colander or strainer, all you need is a sheet pan and your oven, says New York–based chef and salad-whisperer Ilene Rosen in her book, Saladish.
Most sturdy greens can be lightly oiled and salted, then briefly “blanched” on a sheet pan in a 400° F oven. The dry heat of the hot oven crisps and wilts them at the same time, providing a broader range of textures than the usual parboil or sauté.
Rosen recommends keeping the vegetables in the oven only for 10 minutes at the most, but it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on when they’re cooked enough for your taste. You’ll still need to break out the big pot and ice water for more delicate vegetables like peas or shredded cabbage. But go ahead and try this technique on hardier veg, like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, or Brussels sprouts.
What do you think? Does oven-blanching seem easier than the boil and ice bath? Let us know below!