Blanching is a quick-cooking process in which food is briefly plunged into boiling water to partially cook for a minute or two, then immediately transferred to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
Example recipe, using blanched or par-boiled broccoli:
2 pounds broccoli (use the florets and very tops of stems)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
Parboil (blanch) the broccoli florets for 2 or 3 minutes to tenderize but not fully cook. Set aside to evaporate and dry. (Broccoli must be dry, or batter will not stick.)
Meanwhile mix remaining ingredients to make a batter. Heat 4 to 5 cups of vegetable oil to 350° in a deep fryer. Batter the broccoli to coat and deep-fry, in batches, for about 3 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Serve hot as is or with assorted dips, such as a ranch-style dressing or mustard-mayonnaise.
Note* If you do not have a deep fryer, such as a FryDaddy™ or a FryBaby™ an electric-skillet will do just fine. Make sure you get your oil up to temperature and hold it there, frying small batches at a time, so as not to cool down the oil. This will keep your batter from absorbing too much oil and becoming soggy.
Example recipe, using blanched asparagus:
Asparagus-Prosciutto Appetizer Spears
Fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched
Prosciutto (imported Italian salt and air-cured ham)
Trim asparagus by “snapping” off woody ends. Plunge into boiling water until crisp-tender. Immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry. Spread middle-third of each spear with a little cream cheese and wrap in thinly sliced prosciutto ham to cover the cream cheese. Arrange on serving platter.