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A New Approach for Broccoli

Bean Soup-3

When I was 11 years old my parents sent me to boarding school. It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounded. In many ways it was a big adventure to make new friends and be out in the world on my own.

I learned some big lessons that year.

But the thing that really stuck with me was how amazing my mum’s cooking was. And just how bad boarding school food could be.

It’s easy to trace my fear of over-cooked vegetables back to that time. I distinctly remember beans and broccoli always having that dull army green thing going on. Ick

And the texture. Always of mush.

So it’s not surprising that I grew up to be a fan of ‘al dente’ crunch in my vegetables.

But recently I’ve had a change of heart.

Especially with my broccoli.

It all happened, as the best cooking discoveries tend to happen… by accident.

I was ‘steam-frying‘ a pot of broccoli to have with my poached eggs one morning and got distracted with Fergal. Next thing I knew my broccoli had nothing resembling any crunch left.

But here’s the thing…

I LOVED my super tender broccoli ‘mistake’. The flavour was more subdued and it just melted away in my mouth. I couldn’t wait to have more.

Moral to this tale?

Try cooking your broccoli a little longer. You might be surprised how delicious and interesting good old ‘broc’ can be…

Super Tender Broccoli-3

Super Tender Broccoli

I love this broccoli with a poached egg and some home made mayo for breakkie. But lately, I’ve found myself doubling up for more super tender ‘broc’ with sardines or tuna and lashings of lemon juice for lunch or a simple supper.

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes

1 bunch broccoli, chopped
2-4 eggs
3 tablespoons white vinegar  
mayo to serve

1. Place a medium saucepan on a medium high heat. Add a drizzle of oil, the chopped broccoli and a big splash of water.

2. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes and adding more water if it starts to burn.

3. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to the boil for the eggs. Add vinegar then break in your eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the eggs to gently bubble for about 3 minutes or until they feel soft and pillowy to your finger. (I set a timer otherwise I forget them!)

4. When the broccoli is no longer crunchy, season generously with sea salt and pepper.

5. To serve, divide broccoli between two plates and top with poached eggs and mayo.

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Variations

vegan – skip the eggs and serve broccoli with a big dollop of hummus.

different protein – i love sardines, tuna or salmon instead of the egg. Its also lovely with shaved parmesan or a sharp goats cheese. Great with grilled steaks or pork chops.

side dish – skip the egg and mayo and serve broccoli with a splash of lemon juice anywhere you’d normally serve a green salad.

different veg – try asparagus, kale, cabbage, chard (silverbeet), spinach or broccolini.

Video version of the recipe

What about you?

Got a fave way of cooking broccoli? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…

Big love,
Jules x

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • A Collet 26 May, 2015, 4:05 pm

    Cook the broccoli till soft then mash with potatoes and butter, serve with boereworst or any kind of sausage sprinkle some vinegar over on your plate even the kids will eat it.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:32 am

      Right A Collet! I’m going to try this on Fergal!

  • Amber 26 May, 2015, 4:14 pm

    Broccoli cooked, then blended with chicken stock makes a lovely dairy free soup.

    Roast broccoli until the edges crisp and even char a bit. Try cooking it with a squeeze of lemon, crushed garlic, or sea salt.

  • Amber 26 May, 2015, 4:15 pm

    Those were two separate recipes, by the way. :)

  • Amber 26 May, 2015, 4:19 pm

    Also, I’m wanting to try this Broccoli Cooked Forever recipe. http://food52.com/recipes/15632-roy-finamore-s-broccoli-cooked-forever

  • Adelyn 26 May, 2015, 4:27 pm

    I like it raw in a salad with pine nuts and a little bit of dijon mustard and lemon juice. No dijon mustard in your fridge? Simple mayo with lemon juice is good too.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:31 am

      Yum Adelyn.. I like it raw too jx

  • Corinne Winson 26 May, 2015, 4:35 pm

    I agree with Amber … char-grilled / roasted is really good. If not roasting with other veg, I just steam in my bamboo steamer until el dente.

  • Bob 26 May, 2015, 5:32 pm

    I enjoyed a takeaway Thai dish including broccoli – cooked in coconut milk – bite on the broc and the coconut juice oozes out of it – bliss
    I also enjoyed “…broccoli…having that dull army green thing going on”. That’s droll.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:30 am

      Thx Bob! One of my favourite soups is Thai green curry of broccoli… The recipe is in the stonesoup archives :)

  • Maria de Sousa 26 May, 2015, 7:40 pm

    I love broccoli too and usually cook it the way you used to …… But recently have started getting terrible indigestion from all the cruciform veggies and have stopped eating them. Maybe if I cook them a little more, as you suggest, it will be fine. Will try tonight! Thanks

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:28 am

      Interested how you get on Maria… Cooking longer should help with digestion jx

  • Julie Q 26 May, 2015, 9:09 pm

    I just boil mine in a little water til the water is just on a rolling boil. Then I drain the water and add half a squeezed lemon (to an average head of chopped broccoli), some salt and pepper. Delish!

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:27 am

      Oh I love lemon and broccoli together Julie!

  • Jill den Hertog 26 May, 2015, 9:10 pm

    Forget the vinegar when you do poached eggs.
    Put the eggs to be poached into a shallow bowl.
    Bring water to a hard boil in a saucepan.
    Slide the eggs into the boiling water, cover the pan & remove from the heat.
    In the time it takes to toast & butter a couple of slices of bread the eggs will cook & be ready to serve. Take your time.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:27 am

      I’ve tried lots of different vinegar-free options and they never work as well for me Jill… Thx for sharing your thoughts!

  • Susan 26 May, 2015, 10:41 pm

    I’m not sure I could do broccoli as a major breakfast ingredient, but with the poached eggs it sure looks good. The way I usually cook broccoli is to steam it. I usually try for soft (but not overcooked) because that’s the way my husband likes it. I prefer it soft or with a very little crunch – for some reason I don’t care much for raw or undercooked broccoli.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:23 am

      Broccoli is really great for breakfast Susan!

  • Janice 26 May, 2015, 10:48 pm

    I love the idea of broccoli for breakfast, add a little hollandaise sauce for Sunday brunch would be perfect for guests.

  • Judi 27 May, 2015, 12:24 am

    Over-cooked broccoli is delicious but you’re also cooking away a lot of the nutrients. If you do boil in water, save the water which is loaded with vitamins and use it for soup or whatever.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:20 am

      That’s why I don’t boil it separately Judi (well one of the reasons the other being I’m too lazy!) By adding the water there’s enough to steam it without losing all the water soluble vitamins down the drain jx

  • Jeffrey 27 May, 2015, 1:24 am

    I like to blanch the broccoli in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then transfer it to an ice water bath to stop it cooking further. Keeps its color bright green and keeps the florettes from getting mushy or falling apart, but still cooked through. Then I gently warm it back up in a saute pan, drizzled with olive oil. Yum!

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:19 am

      I’m too lazy to boil first Jeffrey… But sounds delicious!

  • TinaPete 27 May, 2015, 3:23 am

    Yippee, a video and a new way to cook veggies, two of the best aspects of your blog. A glug of oil and a splash of water and there you go….can’t wait to try this.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:18 am

      Great TinaPete! And so glad you find the videos useful.. Planning on doing more now that Fergal is in child care one day a week :)

  • MilenaE 27 May, 2015, 8:00 am

    I like to chop it up and sprinkle a mixture of bread crumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and parm cheese over the top and roast it in the oven until it is browned on top. It’s very good!

  • Daryle in Vermont 27 May, 2015, 10:22 am

    Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch them … barely two minutes, less is better. Toss them into a saute pan with a half dozen rashers of thick bacon cut into a two-inch dice. When the bacon is done the broccoli is perfect. Add a fresh grind of Tellicherry black pepper, Himalayan pink salt and a couple of scratches of nutmeg.

    • jules 28 May, 2015, 9:16 am

      Interesting to add nutmeg Daryle… Love the sound of the bacon!

  • Esther 27 May, 2015, 1:39 pm

    I chop it small, drizzle it with a little olive oil and sea salt, and roast it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It is like a deliciously healthy alternative to popcorn.

  • Maeghan 28 May, 2015, 12:34 am

    I love to roast my broccoli! Tossed with olive oil and a bit of salt, roasted until it’s crispy at the edges. Delicious!

  • Kristen 2 June, 2015, 9:34 pm

    I can’t believe there is someone else who loves ‘well done’ broccoli with a poached egg for breakfast! I started to do it as a change from kale and eggs and now it’s my Saturday morning go-to. With some home strained labne or some hummus but I will try Mayo. Chilli and lemon good ideas too.

    Broc roasted with king prawns (good quality local frozen ones) is amazing too and super simple. Maybe I read that here actually…..?

    • jules 9 June, 2015, 12:50 pm

      Great minds Kristen! And thx for the king prawn idea..: sounds delish! Jx

  • Malin 12 August, 2015, 12:58 am

    I took a bag of frozen broccoli from my freezer and steamed/boiled it in a pan until unfrozen, then added some olive oil, salt and pepper and let it fry. Didn’t have lemon or vinegar, so I put a tiny amount of sesame oil on it when serving. Delicious! :)

  • Pamela 29 June, 2017, 12:31 am

    Pasta and Broccoli w/Anchovies

    1/4 extra virgin olive oil
    4 garlic cloves minced
    Small tin of anchovies
    Pinch red pepper flakes
    1/2 box of penne pasta
    1 large head of broccoli

    Heat oil in a large skillet
    Add garlic and anchovies sauté until anchovies are disintegrated in oil
    Add red pepper flakes cook for another 30 seconds
    Remove from heat

    Bring a pot of water to boil
    Add
    a 1/2 box of penne pasta and cook for about 4 minutes
    Add broccoli florets to pasta in water cook together about 5 more minutes til broccoli is soft but not falling apart

    Scoop out broccoli and pasta with slotted spoon and toss with oil and anchovies
    Yum!

    OR

    Sauté cooked broccoli in a pan with capers, garlic and olive oil

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