Nom de plume of Francine Wolfe Schwartz
If one vegetable could be called a super hero it would be broccoli (and its cruciferous buddies kale, brussel sprouts, turnips, cabbage, collards and cauliflower). Protector from cancer and cataracts, a bone builder and immune system booster broccoli is one of the lowest in calorie most highly nutrient dense foods.
But most of all broccoli is fondly called by children “little trees”. Next to carrots broccoli is the most popular vegetable eaten raw by children (and adults). On vegetable platters or added to salads broccoli adds crunch, flavor and nutrition. Just take care in cooking broccoli. Overcooking results in the big turn off that awful sulfur smell and grayish color.
Store broccoli in an open plastic bag in your refrigerator vegetable bin. Since broccoli continues to respire after harvesting leaving the plastic bag open allows room to breathe. Try to eat within a few days when the freshest.
Fresh from the field broccoli freezes well. For how to information download the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension brochure
Preserving Food: Freezing Vegetables http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy719By now you’re might be wondering why Italian? Who knew broccoli was first cultivated in Italy by the Romans! You could say it’s the Rocky of all vegetables.
Roasting is one of my “most” favorite ways of eating vegetables. The first time I roasted beets I ate the entire bunch. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables making vegetable lovers out of vegetable haters. One big tip-roast vegetables on a foil-lined baking sheet for much easier clean-up.
Vegetable roasting basics:
Wash and dry vegetables
Coat with olive oil.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Choose an ample sized baking sheet. Crowded vegetables will steam instead of roasting.
Roast at high temperature – 400-450 degrees.
Roasted Broccoli So Simple and Delicious
makes 4 servings
1 pound broccoli, rinsed (about 3 stalks)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven 425 degrees. Cut broccoli florets into bite size pieces and thinly slice stalks into 1/8-inch slices. Place broccoli in a large mixing bowl toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Spread broccoli on a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until crisp tenders about 8-10 minutes.
Variation: In the same bowl used for coating broccoli add 1 cup grated Asiago cheese.
After roasted, return broccoli to bowl and using tongs toss to coat.
makes 6 pockets
2 tablespooons oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red pepper minced (optional)
3 cups finely chopped broccoli florets (about 4 stalks, reserve stalks to use in stir fry or salad recipes)
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
5 ounces of goat cheese (about half a 10.5 ounce package)
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/2 pound frozen phyllo pastry sheets about 12 sheets, thawed according to package directions
oil for preparing phyllo
Preheat oven 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
In a large skillet heat oil. Sauté onion 4-5 minutes, add garlic and red pepper and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes longer. Add broccoli oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to cook 2-3 minutes longer until broccoli is just tender.
Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese and Swiss cheese. Set aside.
NOTE: Work with one phyllo sheet at a time, keep the remaining sheets covered with a damp cloth.
On a clean dry counter or large cutting board lay a single sheet of phyllo dough. Lightly brush with oil, top with another sheet and brush with butter. Continue this process until 6 sheets are stacked one on another. Do NOT oil the top layer. Cut the stack horizontally creating three strips. Working from one end spoon about 1/4 cup of broccoli mixture at the bottom left corner. Folding like a flag create a triangle.
Continue folding the length of the dough. Place on baking sheet seam side down. Cover with a damp kitchen towel as you continue to fill remaining phyllo. Lightly brush triangles with olive. Bake about 12-15 minutes until lightly golden and puffy.