How to Blanch and Shock Asparagus

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,489
    Chef Todd Gray demonstrates how to blanch asparagus.

    Todd Gray: I am Todd Gray from Equinox Restaurant and today we are preparing orecchiette pasta with spring vegetables. I am going to start by preparing our asparagus and cutting this asparagus into one inch lengths. You are going to need a good knife, something as sharp knife. A dull knife is not your friend in the kitchen. You want to have something that has good edge on it, has good balance. I am actually using a Henckel knife, but any good knife would suffice.

    So lets start by cutting the tips at one inch length then we will go down the body of the asparagus and cut it into to one inch. We will cut again till we get down to the bottom. We dont want to use the tough fibrous part of the asparagus thats on the bottom. Push this small pile aside and we will start with this last pile here, one inch, one inch, and one inch. Take them, place them into our basket. All are ready for blanching and we will head over to the range.

    We now are going to be blanching and shocking our asparagus tips. They all have been cut into about one inch length. We are looking for good firm asparagus, good true green color, no bruising or soft spots. One important thing with our green vegetables again is the salt. Always salt the water when you are boiling green vegetables, two reasons, it gives seasoning to the vegetables much like out pasta and as well the salt is going to help to preserve the natural chlorophyll inside the vegetables.

    Now that our water has been salted, we take our asparagus tips into simmering salted water and allow them to cook. We are going to need about 60 seconds to blanch the asparagus tips. I kind of like my asparagus a little bit on the crunchy side, we are looking for an al dente vegetable so I say 60 seconds. If you would like to have a little bit of more cook then I would recommend that you cook it about a minute- and-a-half to two minutes. Pull our asparagus out. Asparagus is into our ice bath, arrest that cooking. It starts to chill our asparagus tips. Now if this has been complete, in our next clip we are going to start to pasta sauce. I will show you how to finish your orecchiette.