There’s no better barbecue side dish than freshly grilled seasonal veggies. But timing them to be ready along with the main course can be a challenge. For faster grilling, the pros recommend blanching vegetables like asparagus, corn and Brussels sprouts first. Here’s how to do it:
Fill a large pot with water and boil
Even if you plan to blanch a small portion of vegetables, boiling a large amount of water is key to keeping the temperature high.
Salting the water will pre-season your veggies. For each quart of water, add one to two tablespoons of salt.
Clean and slice your vegetables
This step can be done ahead of time if you have other items to prepare while waiting for the water to boil.
Prepare the ice bath
Fill a large bowl or pot with cold water and ice. Submerge a wire basket, colander or steamer in the bowl to make removing the veggies a breeze.
Add your vegetables to the boiling water all at once. Since you’ll be cooking them further on the grill, leave them in the water for no more than two minutes. When they appear bright green and are slightly tender, it’s time to take them out. (When blanching vegetables that will not be grilled, roasted, or broiled, leave them in the water until they reach your desired tenderness.)
Transfer to the ice bath
After boiling, use a slotted spoon or small strainer to transfer the vegetables to the bowl of ice. Allow them to chill for as long as they boiled, then remove them from the water, season and grill!