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Cooking Vegetables

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  Cooking Vegetables
 

 

3 Simple Rules:

 

  1. Young, fresh, vegetables will cook more quickly than fully grown or stored vegetables.
     

  2. When boiling vegetables, root vegetables and tubers should be placed in COLD water and brought to the boil except New Potatoes - which should be cooked in boiling water - just like those grown above ground.
     

  3. Vegetables grown ABOVE the ground should be placed into water that is already boiling.

 

Dry Methods

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Roasting

Not suitable for vegetables with a high water content - but is ideal for tasty preparations such as Roast Pepper, Potatoes or Parsnips. Many vegetables roast well if marinated in olive oil and seasoning. As this is a hot - dry method of cookery, much care is required.

Baking

Similar care required as Roasting - but Baking takes place without the use of oil.  Vegetable Tarts and Baked Potatoes are popular examples. Also stuffed and baked Tomatoes or Peppers. 

Grilling

Once again, great care is required.  Not many examples this time, try Grilled Mushrooms or Tomatoes. 

Deep Frying

Many vegetable can be cooked using his method of cookery. It is important to remember that it is also a potentially dangerous method. The most popular example is Chips or French Fries, (see blanching below) but many other vegetable respond well to deep frying.  Think about deep fried Cauliflower, deep fried Courgette, Onion Bahjis.

Shallow Frying

This method is suitable for many vegetables, both as a dish preparation itself as in saute potatoes or as part of another dish - for example: browning onions for a stew or sweating vegetables prior to making soups, stews, sauces, etc

 

Wet Methods

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Blanching

This is not a method of cookery in itself, but a means of preparing vegetables for service, or as part of mis en place. When boiling vegetables (or doing so with the intention on freezing them) they can be part cooked by placing into boiling water for just a few minutes and then removing them before they are fully cooked. They are then refreshed in cold water - and drained. Some potato dishes are also blanched - when deep frying. Chips are cooked at about 170c to allow the potato to cook without colour.  They are then drained and held until required.  They then complete cooking in hot fat (190c)

Boiling

This method is used for most vegetables.  Frozen vegetables should be placed into boiling water whilst still frozen.  Other vegetables are prepared as required by type or menu requirement.

Steaming

Most vegetables can be steamed.  This is the recommended method of cookery for invalids as it retains the most nutrients with the least loss of texture.  With the correct equipment it can also be a very fast method of cookery.

Stewing & Braising

Vegetables may be stewed to form a complete dish such as Ratatouille, or as part of a meat or poultry stew.  They are often braised as a complete dish too e.g. Braised Leeks.

Combination

Some vegetables might first be blanched (for example) in boiling water, drained, and then perhaps dipped in batter and deep fried.  This would be a combination of methods.

Microwave

Micro-waving vegetables is a process that is often used in restaurants and  hotels.  They would first of all be blanched and refreshed and then RE-HEATED in the microwave oven.  This helps to prevent loss of nutrients, colour and texture.