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Tuesday 10: Dress Up Your Broccoli
I feel like I need to apologize to broccoli.
Whenever I do one of my presentations on Paleo, the example I use for my soul-sucking, pre-Paleo food is always “chicken breast with steamed broccoli.”
When I was a “dieter,” I ate a lot of chicken breast and broccoli. I mean: a lot. Like, truckloads full. I distinctly remember asking a sales clerk once if a Teflon pan was really, really non-stick because “I need to be able to put a plain chicken breast in there without any oil to cook it.”
And the broccoli didn’t fare much better. It was insulted by being steamed, garlic-salted, and tossed with Smart Balance margarine. (Good Heavens, to Betsy Ross; that is terrible!)
Now, of course, I know better! I know that the right amount of healthy fats goes a long way toward making everything taste ever-so-much better, while keeping me fit, healthy, happy, and not feeling deprived.
To atone for my previous bullying of naturally sweet, friendly, nutritious, delicious broccoli, here are 10 ways you can dress it up. Tasty broccoli is the new black!
Let me be clear on one thing: I think steaming broccoli is a kickass way to get it started. Steamed broccoli is the food equivalent of perfectly broken-in jeans… not paparazzi-worthy on their own, but a comfortable start to an outfit that gives you the confidence to strut across the room. Let your broccoli strut, people!
For all of these ideas, start with broccoli that’s steamed or blanched until it’s just tender. If you need some guidance on that, here’s a post about how I steam-sauté my vegges, and here’s another on blanching.
sesame oil + toasted sesame seeds + scallions
Toast some sesame seeds in a dry skillet, then drizzle steamed broccoli with a little sesame oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and top with thinly-sliced green tops from scallions.
extra-virgin olive oil +sundried tomatoes +black olives
Thinly slice the sundried tomatoes and olives, toss with the steamed broccoli, then drizzle the whole shebang with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
ghee + curry powder + ghee + raisins
Heat some ghee (clarified butter; how-to here) in a skillet, then fry the curry powder and raisins in it for a few seconds. Toss with the steamed broccoli.
ghee + chives
Heat some ghee in a skillet, toss in the broccoli, then sprinkle in dried or fresh chives. Season with salt and pepper.
coconut oil + garlic + cumin +chopped nuts
Heat the coconut oil in a skillet, then add cumin, garlic, and chopped nuts — almonds or pistachios are recommended. Cook over medium heat until the nuts are toasty, then toss with steamed broccoli.
extra-virgin olive oil + garlic + crushed red pepper flakes + lemon juice
Put the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a skillet and warm over very low heat. Toss with steamed broccoli, then finish with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
coconut oil + dried cranberries + chopped walnuts + orange zest
Heat the coconut oil in a skillet, then add dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and thyme. Cook over medium heat until the nuts are toasty, then toss with steamed broccoli and finish with a dusting of orange zest.
extra-virgin olive oil + thyme + garlic + lemon juice + lemon zest
Put the olive oil, thyme, and garlic in a skillet and warm over very low heat. Toss with steamed broccoli, then finish with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and a little zest.
extra-virgin olive oil + almond flour “bread crumbs”
Make “bread crumbs:” Mix 1 tablespoon almond flour with 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, then sprinkle it with a smidgen of salt. Sauté in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until it forms toasty brown crumbs, about 1 minute. Toss steamed broccoli with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
Turn it up to 11: Broccoli Confit
I like my vegetables very well done, so I’m intrigued by this recipe for 2-hour broccoli. It’s essentially a broccoli confit, a.k.a., slow-cooked in fat and seasonings. Dave likes his veggies crisp (harrumph), so I haven’t tried this mush-tastic broccoli yet. But it’s on my list.