Broccoli is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen, thanks also to its not too strong flavor. If you are curious to know how to cook broccoli. And the different uses it lends itself to in the kitchen, you just have to find out in this article.
Preparation of broccoli Tips for use in the kitchen Best pairings with broccoli Proper storage of broccoli The broccoli, belonging to the cruciferous family of vegetables is also known as broccoli cabbage. In our country, there are different varieties that can be appreciated in various places in Italy, among the most famous we have the Romanesque and Calabrian broccoli.
The broccoli is a typical winter vegetable that is widely used in our power, thanks to the pleasant taste and its countless beneficial properties. They are renowned for their high concentration of vitamin C. But also contain B1 and B2, mineral salts, and fiber.
Among the other most important substances we find sulforaphane, with its high antioxidant and anti-tumor power. It is recommended to introduce them to the diet of those suffering from high cholesterol and those who follow a weight loss diet, this is because they have a lot of fiber, few calories, and a high satiating power. Let’s find out together how to choose them and how to cook them best.
How to cook broccoli: cooking, ideas, and combinations
The broccoli should be firm to the touch, with compact inflorescences and vivid color. It is good to check between the florets that there are no dark spots, which means that the broccoli is old or rotten. Once you’ve made sure the broccoli is fresh, take care of the cleaning.
Cut the florets of the broccoli, the larger stems better if they are cut with a knife to facilitate cooking. Throw away the larger outer leaves, while the smaller ones wash them under running water along with the tufts of broccoli. For better cleaning, let them soak in the water for a while and then rub them with your hands under running water. Let’s now see in detail how to cook broccoli.
For healthier cooking, we recommend boiling or, even better, steaming.
Cooking boiled broccoli: after cleaning the vegetable, cook it for about 10-15 minutes in hot salted water, without the lid. Pull it out of the water with a slotted spoon or drain it with a colander and set it aside for your recipe.
Steaming broccoli: pour 3-4 fingers of water into a saucepan, once it boils, places the basket with the broccoli evenly positioned inside. Salt and cover with a lid, cook for about 7/8 minutes over medium heat. At this point, the vegetable is ready to be used.
Compared to other vegetables that are part of crucifers, such as cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage, broccoli has a less intense and more delicate flavor. This makes them a versatile food in the kitchen, in fact, it is suitable for the preparation of various savory dishes of all types of courses: side dishes, first and second courses. Once boiled or steamed, broccoli can be seasoned and eaten as a healthy and light side dish, or used for the preparation of various savory dishes. It goes well with both the most decisive flavors, such as dried tomatoes and anchovies in oil. And the sweeter and more delicate flavors such as dried fruit, raisins, ricotta, giving life to first courses, main courses, and really delicious and particular side dishes.
Among the best-known dishes with this ingredient, there is certainly pasta with broccoli. Yet even cereals such as rice, barley, spelled, can be seasoned with this vegetable, both for a fresh summer salad, perhaps in combination with pieces of tofu, tomatoes. And a handful of pine nuts, and for a hot soup, in this case, you can cook together with broccoli, potatoes, and carrots or add some legumes. It is very good as a side dish with other vegetables or pureed with potatoes to make vegetable meatballs to be cooked for a few minutes in the oven. They can be the protagonists of savory cakes and strudels, you can create a filling with broccoli, salmon, and dried tomatoes, or a vegetarian version with broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. In short, its versatility will give you the opportunity to experiment, try it because it’s really worth it.
Recommended pairings with broccoli
There are many vegetables that you can add to broccoli for your preparations, whether they side dishes, soups, vegetable soups, or meatballs. We can recommend some of them: potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and legumes, especially chickpeas and beans. Other foods that go well with the flavor of broccoli are fish, such as tuna, salmon, and anchovies or cheeses, especially ricotta. But also dried fruit such as hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, raisins. In this regard we can suggest an excellent recipe with which to season the pasta, just blend the boiled broccoli with pecorino, ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few kernels of walnuts. To enhance the flavor of broccoli and to limit the abdominal swelling it can cause. We can advise you to use dill, but also aromatic herbs such as mint, paprika, and marjoram, while among the spices nutmeg, turmeric, and black pepper
Preservation of broccoli
Broccoli should be stored in the refrigerator in plastic food bags, where it will keep for about 4 days. Once cooked, you can keep them in the refrigerator until the next day, in an airtight container.