At our house recently, broccoli had a moment, when both of us came home with big green bunches of it.
We could have blanched it and stuffed it in the freezer for later use. Instead, we enjoyed it as a side dish and came up with a couple recipes to spotlight it.
There are worse things to OD on, right? Broccoli is a good source of protein, vitamin E, vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron and an excellent source of fiber. It's versatile, and works well in soups and salads, on pizza, in omelets and in other egg dishes.
Got a a lot of broccoli in your veggie drawer? Here's a couple recipes to add to your repertoire.
1.25 to 1.5 pounds broccoli florets (and stalks, sliced)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, or a combination
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 plump garlic clove, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
Black pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne
Salt if needed
3/4 cup rice
1/2 to 1 cup milk
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat butter or oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook about 6 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and saute - do not brown. Add broth and water to pot and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and bring everything to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add rice and cook until tender, about 10 minutes more. Broccoli should be very tender, as well.
Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor and puree in batches, then return to soup pot). Add as much milk as needed to thin the soup to a consistency you like; you can also add more broth. Add a couple tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, if you like. Taste soup and adjust seasonings as needed. Makes about 6 servings.
Pastry for 9-inch quiche
1 cup Jarlsberg, Gruyere or cheddar cheese, or a combination
1 cup smoked ham, cooked and cubed (see note)
1 generous cup cooked broccoli, chopped
3/4 cup half and half
Black pepper, salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll crust out and place in pie plate. Trim as needed. Crimp edges and prick crust all over with fork. Bake for 7 minutes, or until light golden. Remove crust from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Break eggs into a bowl. Whisk together eggs and half and half. Stir in cheese, ham and broccoli. Add pepper and salt to taste. Stir again.
Bake quiche for 55 to 60 minutes, or until set. Let rest briefly. Serve with a green salad. Makes 6 servings.
Note: I used smoked ham from W.W. Longhorn Ranch, Bernhards Bay, in this recipe. It is excellent. Find it (and them) at the Central New York Regional Market.