Growing up, we ate a lot of broccoli. Maybe it was the Velveeta, but I always loved it! Even though I tend to avoid Velveeta in my own kitchen, broccoli remains my go-to vegetable side dish. I often dress it simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but the preparation varies depending on the weather. If it’s cool outside, I might fire up the oven for a slow roast. If it’s 99 degrees and counting, a quick blanch or sauté on the stove-top is preferred. Broccoli Four Ways is my guide to different methods for cooking broccoli and simple, interchangeable recipes for flavors.
1. After washing the broccoli carefully, separate the florets from the stalk.
2. Slice off the bottom of the stalk, then stand up right. Make straight cuts down the sides to remove the outside of the stalk.
3. Next, chop the trimmed stalk as desired. I usually dice it.
4. Last, chop the florets into even pieces.
Blanched broccoli has been boiled quickly and then plunged into an ice bath. Blanching removes the harsh bitterness, making it the perfect addition to your vegetable tray or appetizer platter. Here I left it plain except for a sprinkling of coarse salt.
Slow-roasted and golden brown broccoli has crispy edges and deep flavors. I like to add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts for an elegant finish.
This easy method yields crispy brown florets, similar to roasting, but without the long cooking time. In minutes, you can cook up a simple vegetable side dish right on your stove top. I love to add shredded cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking time for a gooey, melted finish.
Always a healthy choice, steamed broccoli is best when it is bright green and tender-crisp. Add dashes of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, then sprinkle with sesame seeds for an easy Asian side dish. Leftover steamed broccoli is heavenly when chopped and added to scrambled eggs, too.
- 1 bunch broccoli, florets cut into ½” pieces, stalks and peeled and cut into ½” pieces
- To blanch: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 1 T. salt to a boil. Add broccoli and cook for 2 to 4 minutes; remove from the pot and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
- To roast: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone mat. Toss broccoli in a bowl with 3 T. olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the broccoli is lightly browned and tender.
- To sauté: Heat 2 T. olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and cook about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 T. water, cover, and cook about 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook another 2 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender.
- To steam: Place a steaming rack in a large pot or Dutch oven and add water until it touches the bottom of the rack. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli to the rack, cover, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes; drain well.
Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with toasted and chopped almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
Sprinkle with soy sauce, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.
Toss with shredded cheddar cheese.
Sauté with minced garlic, fresh grated ginger, scallions, and red pepper flakes.