Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Steamed Broccoli

This is the easiest and best way to cook broccoli. It’s my favorite and I could eat broccoli like this several times a week. As a child, I hated broccoli the way my grandmother cooked it. She put the whole head in a large kettle and boiled it until it was mushy. Yechh!
This recipe requires a stovetop setup for steaming vegetables. I have a set of Revere Ware I received as a wedding present from my family many years ago. It included a three piece vegetable steamer: the 3 quart saucepan, a 2 quart perforated-on-the-bottom pan that fits tightly over it and a tight fitting lid. As a back-up steamer, I use the 4 ½ quart Dutch oven and cover with a collapsible steamer basket set inside. You can just put it in water, but then it is watery. Steaming gives a much better texture.
2 fresh heads broccoli
Wash the broccoli.
Cut off the stalk where it branches and trim the head into spears, cutting off leaves if you prefer. Slice the larger spears in half lengthwise.
Hold the stalk upright and use your trimming knife to slice thinly down the side of the stalk, just cutting off the peel. Turn it one quarter and slice again. Keep turning and slicing until peeled. Trim the corners of any remaining peel as needed. Trim the rough harvested end. Slice the stalk lengthwise in similar size to the spears.
Put about an inch of water in the bottom pan.
Put the broccoli in the steamer basket and set it over the water.
Cover tightly and bring to a boil.
Check it after five minutes. The broccoli is done when it is bright green and you can barely pierce it with a fork.
Remove the steamer basket and pour off the water. Put the broccoli in the now empty saucepan to keep it warm or to season it.
Serve it as is or add your favorite seasonings: Butter or olive oil; grated parmesan; toasted sesame seeds or sliced almonds.
You definitely don’t want to overcook broccoli. If you will be using it immediately in another dish, cook it even less.
Serves 6 to 8 depending on how much your diners like broccoli.

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