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Shock vegetables in SALTED ice bath!?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have a line cook who blanches the vegetables in the salted boiling water and shocks them in the salted ice bath.  I worked at Michelin starred restaurants in the US and overseas and I have never seen this. 

 

Is this a common practice?

 

I was literally shocked when I saw this.

post #2 of 24

No , this is not common practice and you should ask your line cook why he is doing it.

It is common practice all over the world to shock your blanched veggies on cold water only. The use of  ice is fine ,but added salt is not needed.

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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post #3 of 24
Haha, I have seen this. One of the sous chefs at a place where I worked at, he was actually a very young guy and they made him a sous to put him on salary. He was taught this by another chef who had alot of ideas. He told me its the same way your pores open up when you put a hot towel on your face, that was happening with the haricot vert's. So in addition to being blanched in salt water, he said it was good to salt the ice water so when those pores close they take in more season. I personally never noticed a difference, and it didn't look like the salt dissolved in his ice water, so I never paid much attention to it. This is the first time I have ever hear someone else mention it, I disregarded that a long time ago.

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post #4 of 24
Anne Burrell advised this method on her Food Network show.
Said that was how she does it in her restaurant

You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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post #5 of 24

A lot of nonsense is shown on TV today( and most likely tomorrow too).

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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post #6 of 24

The only thing I can see the salt in the ice water do is make the water colder.As far as seasoning  I don't see it..When drained off I would not want salt on the dry veges as it would in my opinion make them more soggy when on the line and before final saute.. The same as I was once told that if you add to much pepper you can get it out cause it is non soluble and floats, to a point this is true it is non soluble BUT even if you took and skimmed it out , the out, flavor would remain..

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by berndy View Post

No , this is not common practice and you should ask your line cook why he is doing it.

It is common practice all over the world to shock your blanched veggies on cold water only. The use of  ice is fine ,but added salt is not needed.

 

He told me his ex chef told him to do so.  The other cook, a lead, told me he's seen this before. I am glad you confirmed the right way smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minas6907 View Post

Haha, I have seen this. One of the sous chefs at a place where I worked at, he was actually a very young guy and they made him a sous to put him on salary. He was taught this by another chef who had alot of ideas. He told me its the same way your pores open up when you put a hot towel on your face, that was happening with the haricot vert's. So in addition to being blanched in salt water, he said it was good to salt the ice water so when those pores close they take in more season. I personally never noticed a difference, and it didn't look like the salt dissolved in his ice water, so I never paid much attention to it. This is the first time I have ever hear someone else mention it, I disregarded that a long time ago.
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Really?  You've seen this huh?

 

If the salt level of boiling water and ice bath are the same, vegetables might not take in extra salt?  What is it called?  Osmosis? I am not a scientist so I am not sure.

 

Vegetables which were shocked in the salted water taste more salt (seasoned). But for me, salty ice bathed vegetables tastes more like cured vegetables.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubadoo97 View Post

Anne Burrell advised this method on her Food Network show.
Said that was how she does it in her restaurant

Thanks! Now I know this TV chef does it.  So maybe this guy's ex-chef saw it on TV and he might have started doing it as well.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Chefedb,

 

I am with you.  The result of salty ice bath gives vegetable more salty taste. Especially when you dress the veggies with a sauce, you cannot subtract the excess saltiness from this "cured" vegetables!

post #9 of 24

The point of blanching vegetables in salted water (3% solution) is to a) speed softening (sodium ions displace calcium ions that cross-link and anchor the cell walls together, thus dissolving pectins) and b) minimize the loss of flavor compounds (unsalted cooking water will draw salts and sugars out of the vegetable. Shocking vegetables in salted ice water will either have zero effect if they are promptly removed after shocking, or will over-salt (brine) them if you leave them in the water bath for any appreciable amount of time.
 

post #10 of 24

I actually worked at a place that had me do this several years ago. The idea, according to the chef, was that if you don't salt the ice water bath for cooling, then the salt that the veg has absorbed from the blanch will want to leave the veg while it sits (osmosis). Its the same idea behind brining something, is that the area of high salt concentration will naturally want to move to the area of low salt concentration. So if you have properly seasoned/blanched veg, then sit it in salted ice water, the slat will begin to leech out into the ice water and dilute the saltiness of the blanched veg. 


I'm not saying necessarily that I agree with it, but thats what I was told. 

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosi View Post

 

Really?  You've seen this huh?

 

If the salt level of boiling water and ice bath are the same, vegetables might not take in extra salt?  What is it called?  Osmosis? I am not a scientist so I am not sure.

 

Vegetables which were shocked in the salted water taste more salt (seasoned). But for me, salty ice bathed vegetables tastes more like cured vegetables.

 

 

I'm not sure if I'm completely following your comment. All I was saying is that I disregarded the technique of salting the ice water. When I was watching my sous chef do this, he added the salt to the ice water right before throwing his veggies in, so he never gave the kosher salt much of a chance to dissolve in the ice water, so it seemed like he was almost just using plain ice water. And I never really understood that if all the desired result was to add more salt taste to the blanched item, why the blanching liquid shouldnt just contain more salt. Adding salt to the ice bath seemed to be an unnecessary step.

post #12 of 24

A lot of people do this by habit, not actually knowing why. Like people think put salt in water it makes it boil faster and hotter. Sure it does about 1 or 2 degrees.f.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 24

same as oil in pasta water, it does nothing.

post #14 of 24

Chef the oil in pasta water does have a purpose and it has nothing to do with sticking together. The oil acts as an anti foaming agent so the water will not foam up with the starch.in  it. This is  similar in a way to having to much soap suds and then adding a cap full of bleach, the suds will  go down, the bubbles will break/  Try it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #15 of 24

i've never heard that before but it makes sense, thanks.

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

OK so I did some research. 

 

Scientifically adding salt in the boiling water is to prevent discoloration. It does not raise any water temperature; water boiling point is always 212F/100C. Discoloration occurs due to the release of oxidase when cut or expose to the air or heat. That's why we soak fruits&veggies (like apples, potatoes, artichokes)  in (sometimes acidulated or salted) water, right?

 

Especially green vegetables contain chlorophyll. When we boil them, magnesium within the molecules are unbound by heat then chlorophyll oxidizes. But this green guy, chlorophyll can be stabilized by sodium ions of salt. 

 

@Someday

Quote:
The idea, according to the chef, was that if you don't salt the ice water bath for cooling, then the salt that the veg has absorbed from the blanch will want to leave the veg while it sits (osmosis). Its the same idea behind brining something, is that the area of high salt concentration will naturally want to move to the area of low salt concentration.

 

In this sense, salt concentration in the ice bath should be lower than the one in boiling water. But how long do we keep the veggies in the ice bath? Maybe 5 minute is not enough for withdrawing the salt. I will kill my cooks to leave veggies in the ice bath too long.

 

Thanks everyone to post your comments.  I learned a lotsmile.gif I still not agree with adding salt in the ice bath. Jeffrey Steingarten should address it in his next book!

 

Oh, on another note, I found that boiling pasta in salted water is to give more chewy "bite" to pasta. Since pasta is made of strong gluten wheat flour, salt will tighten areolation (fish net like structure) of gluten and give more elastic texture.

post #17 of 24

Just to say again, I didn't necessarily buy what the chef was telling me, but it was my job to say "oui chef" and do what he said. 

post #18 of 24

This is why some people add sodium bicarbonate to veges to retain color., it changes the PH of water. It does however kill the vitamin C and some other nutrients.   A touch of bakers amonia also helps color retention slightly.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #19 of 24

from my experience i like to use a little salt in my pasta and vege cooking water to activate the flavors in general.   when blanching and shocking there is gonna be some loss of salt bennifit.   a far as the salt making the food retain its color and texture i have no arguement that it doesnt.  never liked using oil in the pasta water cause it just seemed a waste and made things slippery.   maybe just a touch on a larger batch after cooking.    

post #20 of 24

One other bad feature about adding oil to pasta water is that the cooked pasta does not hold the sauce as well 

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 24

I had a sous chef that made me salt the ice baths. 

post #22 of 24

fishing boats add salt to their ice, it has something to do with lowering the melting point which makes the ice colder and last longer, it should be course salt though.

post #23 of 24

When you carve ice, if it breaks salt can be used to fix it. The salt first melts then fuses the ice together even harder then original when a stream of water is poured over the break.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #24 of 24

I've done this in a number of restaurants and I think its good practice.  You can break it down however you want, but if it works it works.  I think it definitely adds seasoning if done correctly.  My thoughts are already mentioned above.  Heat equals expansion and cold equals constriction.  The salted water is absorbed into the vegetable to season it. 

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