Immersing vegetables briefly in boiling water brightens their colors and makes them crisp-tender; it also lets you cook them partially to use in recipes later.
Salt the Water
For taste, add a generous amount of coarse salt to boiling water (about 1 tablespoon salt for every 4 quarts of water).
Cook Each Vegetable
Starting with lightest-color vegetables, immerse until bright and crisp-tender, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stop the Cooking
Using a small mesh sieve or a slotted spoon, immediately plunge vegetables into a bowl of ice water until cooled. This helps preserve their color.
Transfer vegetables to a baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel to drain. If making ahead, refrigerate in a plastic bag lined with paper towels.