Without sounding seriously obnoxious, I really love broccoli. It’s not necessarily from a health perspective, although we know it is really really good for us, but I love the fact that it’s such an easy veggie to prepare & it pairs well with some of my favourite flavours be it Italian (anchovies, herbs, pecorino) or Asian (ginger, garlic & chilli).
So excited to finally get some organic broccoli in my weekly organic bag! This is the good stuff! To follow 3 of my favourite ways to cook broccoli.
My 12 Minute Italian Pasta
My go to pasta is a combination of anchovies, garlic, chilli, broccoli, some good olive oil and lemon zest. First I make a paste with the anchovies, chilli, garlic & some lemon zest. I cut the broccoli either into florets and add this to the pasta water for a few minutes when the pasta is nearly finished or I whizz up the broccoli in my food processor to resemble breadcrumbs. I then fry the broccoli with a few swigs of olive oil till nice and soft, I then add the anchovy paste to the pan. I prefer to use wholegrain or spelt spaghetti as I think the texture pairs well with the slightly robust combination of flavours. Dinner could be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta, just perfect.
Vegan: I use brown miso with very yummy results. .
Crispy Roasted Broccoli with Fragrant Spiced Yogurt
1 large broccoli (see prep below)
neutral oil (organic rapeseed oil)
1 clove garlic (minced or very finely grated)
2 tbspn black sesame seeds
2 tspn cumin seeds
2 tspn fennel seeds
3 cardamom pods, husk removed, use only the little seeds
80ml good quality natural yogurt
zest & juice 1 lemon
a few sprigs of coriander and reserved broccoli leaves (opt)
Pre-Heat Oven 200c
Cut of the dry end of the broccoli stalk, cut the florets close to the stalk. Wash the broccoli well. Cut the stalks into bite size bits and by all means use the little leaves, they are delicious. Coat the pieces well with salt, pepper, garlic and some oil. Pop into the pre-heated oven for 30min or until the broccoli is crispy and some caramelised bits can be seen. At this stage remove the broccoli and add the coriander and reserved broccoli leaves to the tray – roast for 5minutes until crispy, remove and reserve.
While the broccoli is roasting, toast and toss your sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, set aside. Toast the cumin, fennel and cardomom seeds in the same pan until fragrant. Remove and bash them in a mortar and pestle until fine. Add some to the yogurt (reserving a tspn) along with some salt, lemon juice and zest, you might not need all the juice & zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the broccoli in a bowl, drizzle some spiced yogurt and sprinkle the remaining spice mix over the broccoli, lastly add the toasted sesame seeds and serve. Broccoli loses heat quite quickly so don’t hang about serving this.
Vegan: you can very easily omit the yogurt or make a quick cashew cream by soaking a small handful of cashews in some hot water for about 10minutes, blend with some water and the spices adding some more water till you have the right consistency. TIP: I measure the soaked nuts in a cup, I then add the same amount of water before blending for a liquid consistency and half the amount of water for a more yogurt like consistency.
Steamed Broccoli with Soya, Ginger and Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 large broccoli head (see prep below) this can be done before
2 tbspn black sesame seeds
sesame oil garnish
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small chilli, seed removed, finely sliced (opt)
3 tbspn soya sauce
juice and zest 1 lime
thumb piece of ginger peeled and grated
Cut of the dry end of the broccoli stalk, remove florets, close to the stalk. Wash the broccoli well. Cut the stalks into bite size bits. Boil some water in a saucepan, place a sieve over the water making sure the sieve does not touch the water, place lid back onto the pot making sure no steam escapes. Steam for 4 minutes and check for tenderness. You want a slight bite still, don’t overcook.
While the broccoli is cooking, toast and toss your sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, set aside. Add 3 tbspn of olive oil to the pan, heat on med heat, add the garlic & chilli, gently fry until golden and crisp. Remove taking care not to burn as the garlic will be bitter. This can be done ahead of time.
Take the pan off the heat, add the soya sauce & sesame oil to the garlic oil, grate the ginger straight into the pan, swirl around, add the lime juice and a few tspns of water, taste. If it’s to salty add some more water tspn at a time.
Serve: soya sauce at the bottom, top with broccoli, few tbspn of sesame oil, sprinkle of garlic toasts, chillies and toasted sesame seeds. Broccoli loses heat quite quickly so don’t hang about serving this.