Just a quick side dish and something a bit different to do with old boring broccoli.
I grew up in a Boiling House. My mother wasn’t much of a cook and she hated cooking – which showed, so it was a bit of a vicious circle. The only things at home that were fried were meatballs (she didn’t believe in steaks), and the oven was for baking two or three cakes around holiday times. The rest of our family menu was boiled.
Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beetroot, lettuce – well, I made up the last one, but you get the picture. Plus, it wasn’t light steaming: things had to be tender i.e. bordering on mush. Mum for some reason liked to boil the broccoli whole, with just the stalk trimmed, and it took about twenty minutes of a rolling boil. Poor broccoli. Poor me.
It’s not my favourite vegetable these days but I tend to approach brocs a bit more creatively. The roasted florets are excellent, and contrary to potential fears, they get charred but not burnt. If you can get hold of furikake, Japanese sesame and nori seaweed seasoning, use it instead of plain sesame seeds: it will be even better.
What else to do with broccoli?
Instead of cauliflower, make broccoli cheese. It’s just as tasty and a little less dull in colour: cauli cheese tends to be offputtingly beige.
Use it in bakes or casserole dishes, like salmon and broccoli bake for instance. Broccoli doesn’t need parboiling which is another plus, and again adds colour.
Soup – whether you’re a blender or a chunker, broccoli and Stilton soup is gorgeous. One of my favourites.
And then there’s broccoli salad, with Oriental seasoning, which is genuinely addictive. You‘d better double the amounts if you’re trying it out.
And finally – a tip, and part of my campaign to limit waste – never ever bin the broccoli stalk. It is the best stir fry ingredient imaginable. I save the stalks, chop them into matchsticks and store in a bag in the fridge where they wait for the next chow mein.