Immersion blender: submersible mixing power, handheld stick of culinary dreams, going boldly where no blender has gone before—into your hand, then into the pot. With it, we puree soups, we emulsify salad dressings, and, most importantly, we avoid transfer from one vessel to another. Just plug, dunk, and blend.
But is it friend or foe? For this installment of Weekend Fix, we gathered recipes to showcase the versatility and general convenience of the immersion blender. But we also came across some recent coverage of a few key drawbacks (hint: these particular drawbacks tend to result in stitches). What’s your take? Convenient? Dangerous? Both? However you vote, be careful when you use it. And when in doubt, there’s always an actual blender. Just make sure you have a lid.
Immersion Blender image via Shutterstock
(If you’re looking to invest in an immersion blender, but don’t know where to start, Cook’s Illustrated has already done some exhaustive product testing, updated in 2012.)
The immersion blender does double duty in this simple, healthy recipe: blending the lentil stew, and mincing fresh cilantro into yogurt with a beaker attachment. Curry, cilantro, and red lentils make for bold flavors and a rustic stew. The recipe recommends leaving the stew a little chunky, and we second that. Drizzle with your favorite peppery olive oil and dive in.
Like important clues in mystery novels, immersion blenders tend to make late appearances, and this strawberry sauce is a classic example. Simple syrup hot off the stove is first infused with fresh strawberries and then spiked with pink peppercorns before being whirred into a smooth, sweet sauce—with just a hint of heat—by an immersion blender.
This soup unites the power of the immersion blender with the tried and true reliability of a whisk, here called upon to subdue a good amount of shredded cheddar cheese. A sturdy whisk, and some determination, should incorporate the cheese well enough. The immersion blender does the final mixing once the beer is added, serving in one of its best capacities as a means to avoid batch transfer between soup pot and blender.
This bright, tangy pasta salad dressing can be made with either whisk or immersion blender. Not quite a classic emulsion, it still requires a good amount of mixing to ensure all ingredients take on the same smooth texture. Whisking will give it that artisanal feel, immersion blender does the job quickly, blending without asking too much in the way of elbow grease.
“Quick” and “convenient” are words you’ll often hear in immersion blender recipes. This marinara recipe isn’t the all day stovetop kind passed down through generations; it’s the whip-it-up in a flurry kind, great if you’re running behind and you want something fresh and easy to pour over some simple spaghetti. Toasted garlic (be careful not to burn) and rosemary lend depth, and the whole thing freezes pretty well.