|Broccolini (Baby Broccoli)
Since The Little Woman has been on the low-carb diet (with marked success),
I have been scavenging for more veggies to fill the plate, now absent of
most anything white—rice, pasta, bread.
There is a new broccoli hybrid invented by a Japanese seed company that
is now raised in California and trademarked as Asparation by that
outfit and Broccolini by another grower. It is otherwise known
as baby broccoli or mini-broccoli. It's a cross between broccoli
and Chinese kale. It looks like broccoli but is only about 6-7 inches
Broccolini is right up there with asparagus—the perfect green, versatile
vegetable—tender and delicious. Because it is hard to grow and labor
intensive, the stuff is expensive, but there is little waste and it keeps
well in the fridge. There is no need to trim off more than a two
inches of the “treelet” before preparing.
To prepare broccolini think asparagus. That is, it can be steamed,
blanched or sautéed and dressed with vinaigrette, compound butter
or infused cream. It takes well to Asian seasonings or to hot pepper,
as well. Last night, I blanched a bunch for a minute or two, chill
shocked it and set it side. To about 3 ounces of cream, leftover from last
week, I shredded in about 2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano, added some salt
and a generous teaspoon of chipotle powder.
What I was after, was an infused cream with a dominant parmesan cheese
taste and a real but secondary sense of heat. The Broccolini was
then placed in a gratin dish, dressed with the cream and cheese mixture
and baked at 350F for about 15 minutes to heat all and melt the cheese.
Nice dish. Of course the cream sauce could be flavored with garlic,
Italian spices, herbes de Provence or what have you. Or, you could simply
toss the Broccolini treelets into a wok or sauteuse with a splash of olive
oil or soy sauce and go from there.
Broccolini is henceforth a regular in the Geezer Gourmet's vegetable
bin. I will have to add it to one of the demonstration classes coming
up this fall.
Try it. You'll like it!