Broccoli recipes run the gamut from use in salads to cheese covered dishes. There is a middle ground that is refreshing, tasty and quick to make.
Broccoli is one of the top leafy green vegetables as rated on Web M.D. and yet the typical American consumes only six pounds a year.
"Leafy vegetables are brimming with fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances that may help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps even cancer," says the popular medical site.
Is it the taste, the consistency or the fact that some are under the impression that broccoli is difficult to cook and come out tasting delicious?
No matter, because broccoli can make a return to your dinner table in a big way. Both recipes treat it as either a side dish or as a main ingredient in a salad, served cold or at room temperature.
Preparing the broccoli
Buying broccoli has been made easier with the introduction of broccoli crowns. There will still be stems on the crowns and like buying full stalks of the vegetable, they must be dealt with.
After washing the broccoli thoroughly in water, pare the stalks down so that a couple of inches of stem emerge from the crowns. Split the crowns into small portions or florets, and peel the stems using a paring knife. Peeling allows for the stems to cook quicker, allowing for more of the vegetable's nutrients to remain intact.
Steam the broccoli in the manner you prefer, but as you would pasta, keep it on the "al-dente" side of the equation.
Ingredients: One fresh lemon, a few tablespoons of olive oil and three-four cloves of fresh garlic.
After draining the broccoli, set it aside to cool. Prepare a platter and arrange the florets around the edge of the dish. Cut up the garlic cloves in thirds or quarters as you prefer and place among the florets.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. The fragrance of the garlic will have permeated the the broccoli. Unwrap the plastic and drizzle oil sparingly over the florets, to taste.
Slice the lemon and place in the center of the platter or among the florets. Use crushed black pepper and a bit of salt, then serve.
The recipe works well as a side dish or a salad and can be added to a buffet meal or even as a vegetarian hors d'oeuvre
Alternative serving suggestion
Serve the broccoli as indicated above but without the refrigeration. Some like it warm, while others like it cold to make it more of a salad dish. Add small pieces of chopped up Genoa salami or Pancetta (Italian bacon) among the garlic and florets. Rather than olive oil, use some plain Greek yogurt over the top, or have on the side for dipping.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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