Shock

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A preparation technique, used primarily for vegetables, that "shocks" the food item by exposing it to ice water after the food item has been blanched. Also referred to as "refreshing" a vegetable, the process of shocking is undertaken to immediately stop the food from cooking and to preserve the flavor, the food color and the texture at the point when the shocking occurs. This procedure enables cauliflower and broccoli to be tender on the interior while crispier-textured on the exterior. If additional crispness is desired, the vegetable can be browned in a skillet with a little butter after it has been shocked.

A typical procedure to shock a vegetable involves the preparation of an ice bath into which the vegetable will be immersed. Using a mixing bowl, fill it half or two-thirds with ice and cover the ice with cold water. For each quart of water added to the bowl mix in a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, which helps to retain any salt used during the cooking process that may be removed during the bath. After blanching the vegetable, remove it from the boiling water with tongs or a slotted spoon and place the vegetable in the ice bath. The vegetable should remain in the bath for a minute or so and then be removed. Vegetables that are often blanched and shocked include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and string beans.

If they are to be stored, shocked vegetables should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated, to be used within 4 to 6 days. When ready to prepare, simply remove the vegetables, moisten them lightly with a spray of water and some butter, and reheat in a microwave or on a stovetop in a skillet for a few minutes.

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