This is by far my favourite way to cook and serve broccoli. It’s super-simple, super-speedy and super-tasty and because you’re not boiling the broccoli and leaching away nutrients and flavour, it’s also super-healthy.
As the broccoli steams it’s perfumed – but not overwhelmed – with garlic. You can also add your favourite flavours. After trying this method once or twice you’ll quickly realize how easy it is to modify with your own ideas. Feel free to experiment because this will always be the best way to get a head of steaming broccoli on the table in ten minutes flat!
Yield: 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
One large head or bunch of broccoli
1 cup (250 mL) of water
A clove or two of thinly sliced garlic
A splash of olive oil or a bit of butter
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper or your favourite hot sauce
Prep the broccoli: Trim the broccoli florets from the stalk then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Trim the woody end from the bottom of the stalk and discard. Cut the remaining stalk in half the long way than in half again. Dice into small pieces.
Pour the water into the bottom of a small saucepot. Add the garlic, oil, salt and pepper, cover tightly and begin heating over medium high heat. Bring to the simmer as the garlic loses its sharp pungency and perfumes the steam, a minute or two. Toss in the diced broccoli stems, cover and return to the simmer, giving them a head start for a minute or two.
Add the broccoli florets, cover and steam until tender, bright green and delicious, no more than five minutes. The water will finish evaporating just as the broccoli finishes cooking. Remove the pan from the heat and give it a good shake tossing the broccoli with the oil and garlic. Serve and share immediately!
© Chef Michael Smith – #HalfYourPlate
- Try adding your favourite fresh or dried herb to the works. Minced fresh thyme is one of my favourite versions.
- For a bit of Asian flair, try flavouring the water with grated fresh or frozen ginger and soya sauce
- You can substitute orange juice for the water and add a spoonful of marmalade for an orange glazed version
- This basic method works for many other green vegetables too: Asparagus, snow peas, snap peas, Brussels sprouts and kale all benefit from a quick steam.
Anytime I fire up my grill for supper I always look for a veggie to add to the works because grilling is not just for meat. Firm, juicy zucchini is an ideal candidate. This simple dish also shows how easily you can adapt the classic flavours of salsa to just about any fruit. Try it; you just might discover that you prefer peaches to tomatoes in your salsa!
Pumpkins are not just for carving into pretty faces they’re vegetables, so you can eat them too! As members of the squash family they’re deliciously versatile, inexpensive and packed with nutrients. Your best choice for cooking though are not the various jack-o-lantern varieties, they tend to be too big and bland. Instead, try this simple yet stunning idea with a few mini decorative pumpkins during harvest. With all this seasonal flavour they’re a great way to fill Half Your Plate!