A member of the Brassica (cabbage) family, the edible part is the central flower stalk. It has become a very popular vegetable in recent years. It is best served lightly blanched or eaten raw in salads. broccoli photoIn addition, broccoli is low in calories, carbohydrates and fat. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and good source of folate and calcium. One serving of 100 grams of broccoli will provide more than the daily requirement of vitamin C.
Preparing and Using
When buying check that the stalk, flower head and leaves all look fresh and that the florets are tightly closed and bright green. Loose broccoli will last longer than those bought pre-wrapped.Broccoli is an extremely versatile vegetable that can be used in dishes such as vegetarian lasagne, added to pasta sauces, soups and salads and used as crudités with dips and dressings. Broccoli can be used to garnish buffets and will add colour and bite to a bouquetiére of vegetables.
When serving as a vegetable, calabrese is best cooked gently in boiling water but sprouting broccoli can be steamed. They can also both be cooked or re-heated in a microwave. Both varieties can be served simply with butter and lemon juice or with a Hollandaise or Béarnaise sauce. Alternatively they can be served au gratin with a Mornay sauce or garnished with a breadcrumb topping such as Polonaise or used in a mousselline.
Broccoli is used in many oriental dishes and is excellent when stir-fried. Blanch and refresh first and add at the last minute. Broccoli florets can be made into savoury fritters, or tempura,when dipped in batter and deep-fried. Good flavour combinations for broccoli include:ginger, lemon, lime, almonds and fennel.