Recipe by Chef Michael Smith

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!

SERVES 4 TO 6

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

HYP.Steamed Broccoli101Prep 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 looses 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!

 

#FreeStyle

  • 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

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When I toss romaine hearts into my shopping cart, chances are I'm heading home to make my family’s favourite salad. Every cook should know the joy of crafting a true Caesar salad while avoiding the also-ran dressings at the supermarket that never quite measure up to the real thing. Over time we’ve experimented with lots of additional flavours in this salad but, more often than not, I toss in lots of fresh basil leaves and brightly flavoured cherry tomatoes. What a great way to fill Half Your Plate! SERVES 4 TO 6 For the croutons 1 baguette, cut into large bite-sized cubes 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water 1/4 cup (60 mL) of your best olive oil For the dressing 6 thick slices of bacon, finely cut 1/4 cup (60 mL) of extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup (60 mL) of Dijon mustard 4 cloves of garlic a full 2-ounce (50 g) can of anchovies the zest and juice of 2 lemons 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of honey a dash or two of your favourite hot sauce For the salad 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, rinsed and sliced into bite sized pieces 1 large bunch of basil leaves 2-ounces or so of Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved into thin pieces with a vegetable peeler 1 pound of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Turn on your convection fan if you have one. Begin with the croutons. Sprinkle the bread cubes with water and toss until evenly absorbed. Continue tossing with the oil until it too is absorbed. Spread the works out on a baking tray and bake until the croutons are crispy, crunchy and thoroughly golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Make the dressing. Toss the bacon and a big splash of water into a pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the bacon is fully browned and evenly crispy, 10 minutes or so. Strain off the bacon bits and reserve for garnishing. Reserve all, some or none of the tasty fat. Measure the oil, Dijon, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest and juice, honey and hot sauce into your blender or food processor. Add the reserved bacon fat. Purée until smooth. Make the salad. In a large salad bowl toss together the romaine leaves, basil leaves, croutons and tomatoes. Pour in the dressing and toss the works until the salad is evenly dressed. Top with the bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve and share! Freestyle Flavour You can easily elevate this salad into an entire meal by adding lots of your favourite protein. Try grilling off a few chicken breasts and thinly slicing them into the works. A filet or two of salmon, grilled steak, pork tenderloin, even chunks of tofu can be added for a full protein kick.
Basil Caesar Salad
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