Sunday, December 11, 2011

honor the stems

Perhaps you’ll recall a lunch I had, a generally carby and autumnal selection of Thanksgiving leftovers livened up with a cool green piece of sass: broccoli stem relish.


Oh broccoli stems, let me count the ways.

You are just as (if not more) flavorful than your floret cousins. Using you prevents food waste, something I abhor. Your shape is much more predictable and evenly slice-able, thus enabling for an attractive julienne (well I spose that’s large for a julienne but whatever, so I didn’t go to culinary school. Don’t judge me!)

You cut the broccoli stems up and let them salt and drain off a bitter liquid.


Why? Cause the way I make broccoli stem relish is how Jacques Pepin makes broccoli stem relish. The man is fantastic. After reading his (excellent and worthy of recommending) memoir, and hearing about all the rationing he dealt with during wartime, it becomes totally clear why he wants to conserve every part of every food.

The key to the broccoli stem relish is fresh mint.

The key to affordable fresh mint is buying it at the Asian grocery store.



Some garlic and jalapeno joined in for the ride once the broccoli stems had finished sweating out some excess moisture after their salt tossing.


Plus sesame oil, chili oil, balsamic… yum yum yum!


Now I’d used my stems so I could use the “normal” part of the broccoli plant that people cook with: the florets!

This is one of those tragically unphotogenic but wonderfully tasty recipes.

It has all those wonderful ingredients that taste indulgent but are actually healthful. Greek yogurt adds low-fat creaminess, strongly flavored gorgonzola cheese only requires a light sprinkling to impart flavor, and uberhealthy sunflower seeds impart great texture and taste.


Broccoli Salad

Florets from 1 head of broccoli (reserve stems for broccoli stem relish!)
3 T Greek yogurt
1 T mayonnaise
2 tsp. canola oil
1 T lemon juice
3 chives, chopped (or 1 T)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dash garlic powder
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup gorgonzola, crumbled
2 T sunflower seeds

Cook broccoli in a steamer over boiling water until tender, about 8-12 minutes. Cool slightly.

Whisk together yogurt-garlic powder to make dressing.

Toss together broccoli, dressing, parsley, cheese and seeds.


Annnnnd… then I bought more broccoli :D

I actually have yet to cook the florets (any readers have any broccoli recipes they love?) but I got to the stems first :D

Just cooked them in vegetable stock (just eyeballed enough to cover them) til tender…


Then pureed them, adding salt and pepper to taste and, just for good measure, some gorgonzola cheese. And a few florets for texture!

Creamy and dreamy :D


Soup is so obligatory this time of year.

As part of this complete lunch, I enjoyed it with an English muffin (because soup without bread is like Christmas without All I Want for Christmas is You) and some leftover cod for protein and deliciousness’ sake.



marie said...

I have made so much good food this week but all of it was 'non photogenic', I hate that. Your broccoli salad really does look good.

Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon said...

Ahh good! My favorite way to eat it is roasted with chickpeas!
Your broccoli salad looks so good! I always just buy the crowns because I never knew what to do with the stems!