Like a child’s drawing of a tree, this is the universally recognised face of broccoli. We use the true Italian name to differentiate between the various varieties you may encounter in the boxes. Sweet, mild and terribly good for you.
Storage & prep
Will keep for about a week
Storage: Keep in the fridge as too high a temperature can cause the florets to turn yellow with stress. Kept at a low temperature it will be good for up to a week, but as with all greens, the sooner eaten the better.
Prep: The head is easily cut down into manageable florets with a small, sharp knife. Don’t be scared to cut down into and use most of the stalk, trim it into pencil-thin lengths and it should cook at the same speed as the floret. Alternatively, the stalk and can be cut down into thin matchstick batons and the florets kept small and bite-sized.
Boiling and steaming are the most common cooking methods but you can also roast small tender florets in a high oven for 10 mins, or add them to a hot wok for a stir-fry. The bulky stalk end makes a good base for
Use the stalks: Too often overlooked and discarded but just as tasty as the florets. The stalk can be cut into matchsticks and added to stir-fries or make a great base for a quick broccoli and stilton soup, leaving the florets free for another dish. It’s good practise to cut the florets with a generous tail of stalk attached, trim it pencil-thick and it should cook at the same speed as the floret.
Roast: You needn’t always boil or steam. Cut into bite-sized florets, with a generous length of stalk attached. Throw together with oil, salt and pepper on a roasting tray. Slide into a hot oven and roast for 8-10 mins until the florets are just starting to colour. Try finishing with some dried chilli flakes and shaved parmesan.
Cheesy calabrese: Substitute broccoli for cauliflower in a classic cauliflower cheese, or have the best of both worlds and use half-half. Lace with a nose-tickling dab of mustard, top with breadcrumbs for a crispy gilding or consider adding some blue cheese for a more potent repast.
Roasted broccoli with garlic & chilli
This light and super-easy side is a great weeknight fall back. The chilli and garlic give traditional roast broccoli an extra zing. Watch the stalks carefully – they should be just tender and slightly coloured.
Serves 2 - 20 min
Broccoli works well with:
Acid – vinegars and lemon juice
Citrus – lemon, orange
Herbs – bay, chervil, coriander, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme
Honey and sugar
Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios
Raisins, currants and sultanas
Sesame, including tahini
Spices – black onion seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin and fennel seeds
Ginger, paprika, star anise