Not too long ago I learned a small but very significant grilling or broiling tip that makes a huge quality difference in grilled food is to precook the food by blanching (I had only used blanching for freezing in the past) before finishing on the grill or oven. Now you might think why bother with this step when you can just throw the raw meat or veggies on the grill or under the broiler and it will cook?
Well the answer is a few minutes of blanching will take most of the headaches out of grilling and broiling such as chicken still being raw down by the bone and the outside burns before getting cooked through. Most foods with bone in thick meat and veggies will benefit from precooking in the same ways they do in restaurants to hurry the food out to your table faster. Haven’t you ever stopped to wonder how they get the food out so quickly? They finish the food up to your order after blanching to partially cook the food before meal service even begins.
For those who don’t know what blanching is, this is a wonderful way to make the cooking and freezing of fruits and veggies easier and saves cooking time. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to boil, and then toss prepared fruits or veggies into the water for a few minutes, then finally into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Steam blanching is another style of blanching which involves using hot steam to blanch the food. The time depends on the type of fruit, veggie, or food you are blanching. Blanching helps the food to keep its flavor, color and texture when you freeze or cook it. Take kale for instance, it will turn a dark brown and loses some of that wonderful goodness before it finishes cooking if you attempt to cook it without blanching first. To help it keep its color, first blanch for about 6 minutes, then toss it in a pan with a little olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and sea salt or the seasonings of your choice. This works well for asparagus, potatoes, green beans, Brussel sprouts, carrots, eggplant, etc.
One way I use blanching is to make my scrumptious chicken wings. I always steam blanch the wings for 15 minutes then put the wings into the fridge to chill for at least an hour before finishing them. This leaves my wings juicy, reduces the cooking time and the amount of fat in the wings (results in less charring and dripping of fat to cause flame flares up on the grill or splattering in the oven). I also blanch potatoes wedges before finishing them on the grill with freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme and olive oil for restaurant style potatoes wedges loaded with the yummy goodness of crispy brown flavor and beauty.