A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is pack with essential nutrients, antioxidants and therapeutic properties as well as anti-cancer, cardiovascular and digestive health benefits. High in vitams C, A, K, B-complex vitams, iron, zinc, phosporus and phytonutreint, and with 20 grams of fiber per one-cup serving, broccoli is a quick way to boost the nutritional profile of any dish.
Health benefits of broccoli:
• The phytonutrients found in broccoli are compunds which lower the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
• A British study revealed that broccoli may fight osteoarthritis.
• Broccoli plant compound detoxfies air pollutants in the body.
When selecting the perfect “tree” look for a deep, emerald green head with tightly clustered florets and sturdy green leaves. Keep broccoli unwashed in an airtight bag for up to four days in the refrigerator.
You need only remove the leaves before cooking as the stalks are edible. If there is a thin, tough layer on the stalks, simply use a vegetable peeler to remove. The key to preparing broccoli is to avoid overcooking, as the vegetable is at its best when either raw or just tender-crisp. Florets will cook more quickly than the stalks. For even cooking, split the stalks lengthwise to the head.
Heat the oven to 425° F. Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Toss the broccoli florets and stems with a few teaspoons of oil and a half teaspoon of salt. Spread the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crunchy and you can see deep caramelized brown spots. Serve immediately.
Fill a pot with a few inches of water and insert a steamer basket over top. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4-5 minutes, until tender-crisp.
Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible Film a skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the broccoli with a pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil. Stir frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.
Prepare a bowl of ice water and have it next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a heaping tablespoon of salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately in the ice water. Let the water come back to a boil, then cook the stems until they are also crisp-tender, 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. If you would like softer vegetables, cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Place the broccoli florets and stems in a microwave-safe dish and pour 2-3 tablespoons of water over top. Cover with a dinner plate and microwave on HIGH for 3-4 minutes.