Thrifty Broccoli Salad

We love to steam vegetables.  Broccoli is one of our favorites: three minutes to bright-green, tender-but-still-satisfyingly-crunchy perfection.  Until recently, we always steamed the spears but were never quite sure what to do with the stems.  We typically tossed them away, which always felt like a waste, until one auspicious day when Matt suggested, “Why don’t we steam them, too?”

This turned out to be a brilliant idea.  Now, we make broccoli-stem salad whenever we  have broccoli in the house.

The recipe is simple: peel the stems with a potato peeler (or don’t — peeling isn’t strictly necessary, though it does make the stems more tender), slice them into coins, steam them for three minutes or to desired tenderness, and dress them in a mix of roughly two parts soy sauce, one part sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, pickle those broccoli stems!  I heard this idea in a podcast of my favorite food radio show, but haven’t had the chance to try it yet.  If you whip up a batch, please let us all know what you thought of them!

[8/28/2010 - Update for folks looking for The Splendid Table pickled broccoli stems recipe: the pickle recipe above is from the NY Times.  The Splendid Table recipe is from the Vegetable Inspirations segment of this episode featuring Martha Rose Shulman, who says,

"Peel the stems, slice them up into thin rounds, put them in a jar, put a half teaspoon of salt in that jar, shake it, put it in the refrigerator overnight, and then it will draw off the water.  Pour that out and toss it with garlic, olive oil, and vinegar, and you've got a marinated broccoli stem or pickle that is so good... Everybody loves it."]

Caprese Salad Snack

There is no simpler (and perhaps no more delicious) summer salad than Caprese salad: tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil, with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil if you’d like.  Yesterday, we discovered that one of the best CSAs in our area — Heidi’s Homegrown and Organics — had opened a new retail location close to the College of William and Mary.  We were delighted, because their old location was quite a drive from our house.  We happily loaded up on homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn.  (My pregnancy tomato aversion is finally gone, and just in time for prime tomato season!  Hooray!)

When we got home, we were hungry and overjoyed to find that we had the fixin’s for Caprese salad.  So juicy, so tasty, so perfect for a summer afternoon!


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