To salt or not salt the water, that is the question. I used to boil vegetables in salted water but I found that if I boiled them in unsalted water they would retain more of their natural flavors. And after drying them while they are still steaming hot, I toss them with some coarse salt, to enhance their natural goodness. Does it really make a difference? Indeed it does.
Instead of making a saline solution out of the boiling water, which permeates the vegetable throughout, salting later allows the vegetable to retain its pure flavor. In addition, the sprinkled salt adds another dimension by seeping into the vegetable while still hot. The vegetables that best respond to this method are: stringbeans, broccoli, and zucchini. But I also find it’s true with cabbage, beets, chard, and other greens.
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.