It’s very late, I was going to leave this for tonight, but then changed my mind and decided to do a very quick top five because I am super excited about the mini-glut of broccoli that we’re currently experiencing. I just picked another kilo of it which accounts for the vast majority of what was remaining in the garden. I pulled out some of the plants, the rest I’ll get a few more side shoots from and pull them too. So here are my top five ways with broccoli:
1. It seems too simple to include, but I do love broccoli done very simply, steamed just enough that it turns bring green and is just slightly soft. Then I might add a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or a couple of drops of sesame oil.
2. Blanched or steamed with other greens (like asparagus, zucchini and green beans depending on what’s in season) and then dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and topped with flaked almonds. I love the crunch the nuts add to this dish and it is this addition that made me decide to separate this dish from the first one despite the fact that they are very similar.
3. Broccoli and bacon pasta – I’ve discovered a lot of things taste great with bacon…. hmm perhaps it’s the bacon I love? There are several versions of this dish that I make, sometimes with cream if I’m feeling particularly indulgent. The one pictured is made with a broccoli pesta (blanched broccoli pureed roughly with nuts – usually pine nuts but I’ve used almonds here – garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil) stirred through spaghetti and then topped with crispy crumbled bacon for that crunchy, salty hit.
4. Broccoli and cauliflower gratin because who doesn’t love these two teamed with cheese!
5. Broccoli soup. I think just about any vegetable worth eating can be made into a decent soup and broccoli is no exception. I generally use the same method, fry some diced onion in a little olive oil. Add chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’d prefer) add the broccoli and cook until soft. Process with a stick blender, add cream or milk and heat through, season with salt and pepper and top with chopped parsley. To make broccoli soup extra special add some grated cheese, a combination of Gruyere and Parmesan for example.