Cooking Challenge – Italian Broccoli
For February’s Tidings Cooking Challenge, I thought that broccoli would be a great recipe to try. For all of you who claim not to like broccoli, or who will only eat it if it’s drenched in melting cheese, I challenge you to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think of it. The dressing is super simple, but very flavourful. It’s actually one of my stand-by dressings for green beans, too.
Broccoli is one of those really amazing vegetables that can take on any characteristic a cook wants. Do you want a crunchy, mild-tasting vehicle for a fabulous tzatziki dip? Eat it raw. Do you want a salty foil for grilled chicken? Stir-fry it with a drizzle of soy sauce. How about a quick and delicious hot lunch? Spoon out some broccoli soup. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and even calcium, broccoli is my favourite go-to vegetable. Some supermarkets sell broccoli crowns (in other words, just the florets) at almost the same price as the entire broccoli plant (stem and all). I’d suggest that you by-pass that particular area of the vegetable aisle. Pick up a couple of whole broccoli plants, cut the tops off the stem and set them aside. Slice about a 1/4-inch off the bottom of the stem, peel the outer layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler, then slice the stem into diagonal slices, julienned slivers or rounds depending on your mood. Steam them or bring a little bit of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, then toss in the stems. A couple of minutes later, add the broccoli tops and blanch for two more minutes.
This Italian Broccoli recipe is a very elegant vegetable dish that’s perfect for a party or any quick weeknight meal. All you need is a few cups of blanched broccoli, garlic infused olive oil and a pinch of chili flakes.
2 lbs broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, whole
1. Cut tough bottoms from broccoli. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, remove outer skin. Cut florets into equal sizes and slice stems diagonally. Fill a pot with water. Bring to a boil, and add salt. Add broccoli, and simmer for up to 5 minutes, until stalks are tender. Drain well. Heat oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add garlic and let the oil infuse with the garlic for 10 minutes. Toss broccoli gently in the flavoured oil. Season with salt and pepper, and heat through for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and spoon broccoli onto a warm platter.