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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy-easier-easiest sides: Broccoli

I think broccoli has gotten type-cast.  It's quite likely the most stir-fryed vegetable in this country, the most often smothered in cheese sauce, and the most often served steamed without embellishment.  All good methods, but here are three super-easy and super-tasty new ways to do it up. 

Easiest: Blanched Broccoli with dip

Crudit√© is not just for appetizers!  My kids prefer a lot of vegetables in their raw (or nearly raw) state anyway.  The dip can be as simple as some prepared salad dressing, equal parts mustard and mayonnaise, or a quick oil, vinegar, salt and pepper shake-up.
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup dip of your choosing

To blanch broccoli, heat a large pot of water to boiling.  Add broccoli and set a timer for 2 minutes once the water is back up to a boil.  Drain and rinse under very cold water.  Drain well and serve.

Easier: Braised Broccolini

You can get a lot of interest with very little work just by using something a little different.  The novelty of trying a close relative of a familiar vegetable can go a long way in cutting down on the need for increasingly elaborate preparation for the same old stuff. 

1 bunch broccolini (or broccoli rabe)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup vermouth or white wine

Heat olive oil over medium-high in a skillet.  Add broccolini and saute 2-3 minutes, unless slightly browned.  Add vermouth and cover.  Reduce heat to medium and braise 5-7 minutes, until tender.

Easy: Roasted Broccoli

Roasting takes a little more time than other cooking methods, but the results are jaw-droppingly good.  Really, you have never tasted broccoli like this!  I also like roasting because it's a no-attention cooking method.  You literally stick the food in, set a timer and go do something else.

1 head broccoli, cut into florets (include chopped, peeled stems if you like)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon pepper

Toss broccoli with oil and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes at 375F.

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  1. oh, we are a big broccoli family! my kids won't eat raw veggies, gonna try the roasted version! they love steamed plain broccoli, bet they will love roasted!

  2. That's funny...so far E prefers raw/blanched. I usually leave a few pieces of whatever I'm making uncooked just for him.