Broccoli was introduced to the Amercas from Italian immigrants, who had grown this prized vegetable since the days of the Roman Empire. However, it didn't become popular until the 1920s. It is one of the so-called 'superfoods', named because of the extensive health benefits it provides when consumed. High in Vitamin C and dietary fiber, it is particularly useful in the prevention of stomach, lung and prostate cancers, as well as coronary heart disease. To receive the most health benefits, it is best eaten raw, but is particularly delicious in a variety of recipes, such as those found below.
Broccoli Recipes in this Section:
4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.
Greek Broccoli Salad
1 large bunch of broccoli (about 1¼ pounds), florets removed and sliced into small, bite-sized pieces
⅓ cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes*
¼ cup chopped shallot or red onion
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese or thinly sliced kalamata olives
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes
In a medium-sized serving bowl, toss together the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot or red onion, feta or olives and almonds.
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 30 minutes before serving (but like I said, it's great right away, too!).
Broccoli, Spinach and Wild Rice Casserole with Crispy Proscuitto
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups cooked wild rice
1/4 to 1/3 cup
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli
12 ounces fresh or frozen spinach (thaw and squeeze dry if using frozen)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
good pinch of salt + pepper
4 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
2 ounces gouda cheese, shredded
5 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons pistachos, chopped
Grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a very large skillet (one big enough to fit all of the rice and spinach) over medium-high heat. Once hot add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onions and garlic. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked wild rice, harissa (I used 1/3 cup), frozen broccoli, spinach, dill, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Sprinkle the cheeses over the casserole and then add the prosciutto. Bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the prosciutto is crispy.
Sprinkle the casserole with fresh cilantro and chopped pistachios. Serve!