Cooking With Broccoli

General Cooking Techniques: A one-half cup serving of broccoli has only 32 calories and, either raw or cooked, has more Vitamin C than an orange. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin A, the B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Both the florets and the stalks (with any pithiness peeled away) can be eaten raw. Some folks like to parboil or steam broccoli just a bit before using it raw in salads. Boil for about 2 minutes and then plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking.

Steaming Broccoli: Avoid overcooking broccoli. It is best when it is bright green and still tender crisp. When the color fades from bright green to olive, it is overcooked. Steam the broccoli for 4 to 6 minutes for best results. Serve broccoli with hollandaise, lemon butter, mustard, cheese or hot horseradish cream sauce. It combines well with tomato sauce also.

Soups: Broccoli makes excellent creamed soups. Steam broccoli for about 6 minutes, then puree it in a food processor. Add it to chicken stock, water or milk and season with parsley, tarragon, sage or black pepper. For variety add cheese to the soup--muenster, mild sharp, bleu cheese or parmesan are good.

Entrees: Stir-fry or sauté broccoli pieces in olive oil or butter for about 5 minutes to serve alone or as part of a stir fry with garlic, ginger and other diced vegetables. Chicken divan combines broccoli, chicken, and parmesan cheese into a great entree. Broccoli also works well in many casseroles when chopped or cut into small pieces.

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