Wednesday, March 22, 2006

brilliant green chinese broccoli

The Huz and I love broccoli. I've always tended to steam it, but one day when my friend Jun decided to make me lunch, I learned this simple, delicious technique. This is a really simple dish. Almost too simple to blog, but for the fact that I'd never made it this way before and it tastes so good. I figure if I'd never learned it, maybe there's someone else out there who hasn't, either.

Jun is native-born Chinese, but has traveled in Europe and the U.S. and is a wonderful cook. No recipes for her, no sirree. Chop, cook, eat, and she let me watch her from start to finish. Everything she made was yum, but the two dishes I've replicated at home are scrambled eggs made with tomatoes, and this broccoli dish. It makes broccoli that's brilliant green, firm without being crunchy, and with a smooth, almost nutty broccoli flavor. Try it and see for yourself!

Cut the broccoli with short stems, and slice through the center of the broccoli at least once, more if it's a wide florette. You're shooting for a size that will cook through relatively quickly without being so thin it will break apart from stirring.

Heat your frying pan over medium-high heat. While it's heating, get a cup or so of water ready, right next to the stove. When you need it, you won't have time to go get it.

When the pan is hot, add your oil, more than you would think ... for this two-serving batch I added a little less than ¼ cup (see picture 1). Hey, did you read "low fat" anywhere in the title? At least I used EVOO*!

The oil should get hot fairly quickly. When you see it ripple, toss in the broccoli pieces. Quickly stir them with a wooden spoon or large chopsticks, trying to get each surface rapidly hot. The heat will cause the broccs to turn a brilliant green (see picture 2). That's when you toss in some water, maybe 1/4 or 1/3 cup. Steam! (see picture 3)

Continue cooking over medium-high heat while the water evaporates. Stick a fork in the broccoli just before the water's all gone to see if it's the doneness you like. If not, throw in a bit more water and keep cooking.

Add salt to taste. I used kosher salt, and lots of it. --- Hey! did you see "low salt" anywhere in the title? Eat immediately, on rice or in a bowl by itself or with chopsticks straight from the pan standing over the sink. Anything goes, when you make brilliant green chinese broccoli.

*Rachel Ray-speak for extra-virgin olive oil
*This is my entry for ARF/5-a-day over at Sweetnick's. Check it out Tuesday, when she will post a roundup of an immense variety of anti-oxidant rich foods for us all to try. It's a public health service. And fun, besides!

No comments: