Vegetable Variations – Broccolini, Cauliflower & Broccoli

Robin Boyle Australian, Dinner, Main course, Vegetables

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When there are beautiful vegetables in the markets, it is the time to experiment. In this post we include three ideas based on the brassica family. Use the methods as indicated or create your own.

Broccolini Steamed with Silver Beet

What could be simpler. Select delicate leaves of silver beet and remove some of the stems if they are too long or thick. Wash and shake dry the vegetables. Steam the broccolini first then with a few minutes before it is cooked, layer the silver beet leaves over the top and steam until they are slightly wilted. Toss the vegetables in some butter and/or olive oil and season with crushed garlic, and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Degree of difficulty: 1/5 (Very easy).

Cauliflower and Potato Mash

Cauliflower mashed into potato (and perhaps some parsnip or celeriac) gives a lovely result. Boil your potatoes (peeled) first in the normal manner. In the last stage of them being cooked add cauliflower florets to the top and allow to steam until soft. Drain well but keep the stock as it has a lovely flavour that can be used for another purpose. Return to the heat briefly to remove any excess moisture, then mash everything together using your favourite method and stirring through your favourite ingredients: butter, oil, garlic, chives, parsley, cream, grated cheese … We use an old fashioned masher and we don’t mind if the mash is not perfectly smooth, especially in this case where you can taste small pieces of cauliflower.

Degree of difficulty: 1/5 (Very easy).

Charred Broccoli

We had an excellent version of broccoli at Hapi Dumpling and Bao Bar, Dean Street, Albury in March, 2018. Experimentation has taken us fairly close to what they prepared. As well as broccoli, we have tried it with steaks of cauliflower done in a similar way.

Serve this as a dish in its own right or as a vegetable accompaniment to a main course.

You need thick slices of broccoli, so make sure you buy big enough bunches. The flowerets from either side of each bunch can’t be used for this dish, but use them for another purpose. Trim off the woody end of the stalk. Starting with a bunch, trim off the flowerets from one side, then slice off ‘steaks’ about 8mm thick. (They can be set aside, covered, until needed.)

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, no salt. Blanch the broccoli steaks for three minutes until barely tender. Drain well.

Heat a frying pan large and dry fry the steaks to allow any water to evaporate, turning over. Continue over the heat for enough time for them to just begin to take on a charred look, on both sides – a minute or two. Turn down the heat and add a dash of oil to the pan. Fry the steaks on each side for a further minute or two until just tender when tested with a knife.

Serve sprinkled with white and black sesame seeds, dry-toasted earlier if you wish. Accompany with a small bowl of mayonnaise flavoured with what takes your fancy, such as some tomato paste for a dash of colour, a smidgen of soya sauce and or chilli, a smidgen of crushed garlic, …

Degree of difficulty: 3/5 (Moderately difficult ) as care is required not to over boil the broccoli and to keep each steak intact until served.

Contributions welcomed!

If you have been trying to perfect a recipe, we are happy to hear about your attempts, including the recipe, problems and successes (and good quality photos if you have any).