AWESOME BROCCOLINI

Ah, the bliss, the joy, the thrill of a stove with hot burners!  Stir frying, and any  other cooking style that imparts a wonderful, golden brown color – promises of great flavor ahead – just can’t materialize without intense heat.  I look at the powerful flame on our stove, and discreetly wipe a tear from my eye … Some things get to me.  A big sink to wash dishes.  An oven with three racks and the capability of 500 F.  Stuff like that.  But, back to food.  I found  some organic broccolini at the grocery store.  It’s a great veggie, a perfect side dish for anything from poultry to seafood.  BTW, it’s not baby broccoli,  but a cross between broccoli and  kai-lan, a Chinese leafy cabbage.  The cross mellows the broccoli character, almost yielding the flavor of asparagus, which explains one of its alternative names: asparation (I’m glad this name didn’t stick!  ;-))

My take on broccolini is a slight departure from the stove-top version of broccoli that I posted a year ago.

BROCCOLINI WITH GINGER AND LEMON
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 small bunches of broccolini, preferably organic
2 tsp olive oil
red pepper flakes
1 tsp grated ginger
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
splash of water (if needed)

Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet (that will hold the veggies without crowding), when smoking hot add the red pepper flakes, swirl for a couple of seconds and immediately add all the broccolini. Do not move them around, let them get a nice brown color at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, add the ginger and lemon zest, and shake the pan to move the broccolini and coat well all sides with the ginger, lemon zest, and oil.

Cover the pan, let it cook for 2-3 minutes more, then add the lemon juice – test the broccolini with a fork to see if it’s done to your liking.  If it’s not, and the pan is too dry, add a splash of water and cover the pan again, checking after a minute.  Once it’s cooked al dente, transfer to a serving dish and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  If you are anti-broccoli and think broccolini resembles it too much, please reconsider!  There’s absolutely none of the broccoli flavor/smell that many object to.  Avoid over cooking it, and buy young broccolini, with a bright green color and a firm flesh. This recipe is low in carbs and fat, but sky-high in flavor!  Lemon, ginger & red pepper flakes might very well be my favorite flavor mix right now: good on everything!

ONE YEAR AGO: Pizza! Pizza!

TWO YEARS AGO:  From Backyard to Kitchen

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BLASTED BROCCOLI, STOVE-TOP VERSION

I love roasted vegetables, whether it’s cauliflower or butternut squash,  carrots or mushrooms, and especially  broccoli.  For reasons that I can’t explain, when broccoli is being roasted it’s become fashionable to call it  “blasted broccoli“.

I recently encountered a method for ‘blasted broccoli‘ that literally only took minutes to prepare.  We enjoyed it so much that I made it twice in the same week!  The strangest thing happened, though: now that I want to write about it, the link is gone.    I tried and tried to retrieve it, but without success.   All I can find are the usual recipes that call for roasting in a high oven. So, my apologies for failing to give proper credit, but here’s the method that we liked.

BLASTED BROCCOLI
(adapted from unknown source)

broccoli florets (enough for you and a lucky guest)
1 T olive oil
salt to taste
red pepper flakes
freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the olive oil until very hot, almost smoking, in a large skillet that will hold the broccoli in a single layer, with little or no overlapping.   Add the broccoli florets, sprinkle with salt, add red pepper flakes, shake the pan, and immediately cover it.

Leave it covered for exactly two minutes.

Open the pan and spritz lemon juice all over.  Check  the broccoli to see if it’s cooked to your taste (I like mine with a lot of bite).  If you want it softer,  then cover the pan  and cook again for another 30 seconds.

Serve immediately…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  This recipe won me over because it’s lightening-quick, and leaves the broccoli exactly as I like it:  firm with a fresh and smoky flavor, from its intensely seared florets.  My stainless steel skillet was not in great shape afterward, but I suspect I over-heated the oil a bit.  The secret lies in closing the pan and allowing the broccoli to cook undisturbed, to create a little char at the bottom, and enough steam to begin cooking the florets.  I’m 99% sure that the original recipe asked to finish it with butter, but I opted for fresh lemon juice instead.  Feel free to improvise, as broccoli matches with balsamic vinegar, or grated parmiggiano cheese, or a little nutmeg…. just use your imagination.

When prepared this way the broccoli  has the quality of a classic roasted veggie, but with a “brighter”  flavor;  I couldn’t stop nibbling on it.    This one goes into my regular repertoire!

On a side note, this method reminded me of a recipe for Brussels sprouts that I made  long  ago from 101 Cookbooks.  It’s delicious,  producing the same kind of flavor in a veggie that’s a little challenging for lots of folks.  Give it a try even if you’re  Brussels-sprouts-challenged.