Braising Broccolini – don’t you just love how that sounds? I do, but what’s even better, is how it tastes.
A few days ago I was putting together another last minute dinner, whizzing through the grocery store at frenetic pace trying to figure out what to buy that was quick to prepare but not a repeat of something we already ate that week. I was about to buy the broccoli florets on sale (really creative, huh?) when out of the corner of my eye I saw the broccolini or as some people call it, baby broccoli. I’ve prepared broccolini many times before but seem to always forget about it for long interludes in between, perhaps because it takes up so little visual space in the produce aisle and sometimes isn’t even available. But it is worth looking for. Trader Joe’s usually has it in their produce section.
Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai-lan. Gai-lan is a chinese vegetable that is a wonderful combination of slightly bitter and sweet flavors. When we go out for Chinese brunch (dim sum), it’s one of my favorite things to order, flavored with some oyster sauce. Broccolini has the essence of gai-lan but has the florets at the top, instead of the leaves of gai-lan, making it more familiar looking and possibly more approachable for picky kid or adult eaters.
Here’s how I prepared it the other night. You can add all kinds of fun things to it depending on what you are serving it with (soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon zest, orange zest, oyster sauce, etc), but we love the flavor so much, that I prepare it extremely simply by braising it in an 8-inch saute pan with just water and butter. Ready usually in under 5 minutes.
One bunch broccolini (will serve about 4 people)
1 – 2 tblsps butter
1/3 – 1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the broccolini and just trim the bottom of the stalk a smidgen – no need to do anything else to it. Place it in the saute pan with the water and dot the top with the butter.
Cover the pan and put the stove on about medium (if your stove is not very hot, try medium high, at least until you hear it boiling). It will come to a boil quickly, turn it down to medium low (should still hear it making some noise in the pan as it cooks) and leave it covered. Check it after two minutes. If a fork can pierce the stalk, it’s ready. If it is no longer bright green, it has already cooked for too long.
The butter will melt into the broccolini and what’s left of the water and create a bit of a sauce. Take the broccolini out of the pan once it is ready so it will stop cooking and place it on your serving platter of choice. You can add some salt and pepper if you like. We find it so flavorful as is that we didn’t even add S&P the other night.
Hope you agree that it is as OMG! Yummy as my family does. If you decide to try it, please let me know what you think!