Learn how to blanch broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for vegetable trays, crudités, and salad. Includes blanching, shocking, and serving instructions.
Fill a large pot (such as a Dutch oven) halfway with water. Add salt to the water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve, until the water tastes like the ocean: noticeably salty, but not overwhelming. Place the pot on a stovetop burner and turn the heat to high.
Prepare the broccoli by cutting off the large stem, then cutting the broccoli flower into evenly sized florets. Cut the cauliflower in quarters down the center stem, then slice away the thick stem from the interior of each quarter. The florets will fall away from the stem as you slice.
Prepare a large bowl by filling it with a mix of ice and water. Have a colander style spoon or scoop ready (this will allow you to scoop out the blanched vegetables without draining the pot).
Once the water in the pot is at a steady, rolling boil, add the cauliflower florets, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Then scoop out the cauliflower and place it in the ice water to cool down. (This is called shocking.)
Add the baby cut carrots to the pot, and cook for 1 minute. Then scoop out the carrots and place them in the ice water to cool down.
Add the broccoli florets to the pot, and cook for 1 minute. Then scoop out the broccoli and place it in the ice water to cool down.
Once the vegetables are completely chilled (about 3 minutes), remove them from the ice water. You can arrange them on a serving tray and serve, or cover very tightly and refrigerate to serve at a later time.