When I signed up for Culinary Techniques 101, I skimmed the syllabus and much to my surprise, there was an entire four hour class dedicated to learning about salads and greens. It seemed like an overly simple topic since I can blanch vegetables in my sleep, however I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the nuances of cooking greens in class.
Much like Italians and our pasta water, it is crucial to salt the water generously before adding in your cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts). Salt stabilizes the chlorophyll and prevents the any color from leaking out into the boiling water. Finishing the veggies with an ice bath is the last step which guarantees the veggies keep their vibrant color and don’t turn into mush from residual cooking. Also, a hands on tip for knowing if your veggies are done is to try one. If it squeaks between your teeth while you chew it it needs to cook a little longer!
In addition to greens, we coaxed the bitterness out of endive, we braised rainbow carrots, I played with fire when I added bourbon to my brussel sprouts, and Chef Brian made caesar salad dressing just like my mom’s. The salad was made a little more fancy with charred romaine, something that Bryan and I love to make in the summer on our charcoal grill. The juxtaposition of the bitter browned leaves, the salty anchovy laden dressing and crispy parmesan tuile was right up my alley!
Be sure to subscribe here for more culinary class updates and recipes, I can’t wait to learn about mushrooms and vegetables this week!