Saturday, October 10, 2009

Broccoli

Broccoli: Like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is a brassica and is sometimes known by its Italian name, calebrese. It has tight clusters of deep green buds and thick, edible stems and was developed from the more loosely packed purple sprouting broccoli. There's little to choose between the two in terms of flavour or nutrition.

Availibility

All year round, but at its best from the end of July to the end of October.

Choose the best

Go for firm, bright green, undamaged heads (if it's yellow its already past its peak) and firm stalks. As broccoli deteriorates faster when in contact with the air, supermarkets often wrap it in cellophane - always choose the unwrapped type if you can as, if it still looks good, you can be sure that it has been recently picked.

Prepare it

Trim any woody stem ends or tough leaves with a knife. Divide into small, individual florets, each with a short stem, and diagonally slice the thicker stems. Rinse under cold water. Broccoli boils or steams in 3-6 minutes, depending on the size of floret. In stir-fries, cook it for a couple of minutes, until tender.

Store it

In an airtight bag in the fridge.

Cook it

Cook and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter or a handful of grated parmesan; add to a cheesy pasta bake; stir-fry in groundnut oil with chopped garlic and dry fried cashews, adding a drizzle of sesame oil to the pan just before cooking ends.

Can't find it

Try purple sprouting broccoli or cauliflower.

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