You might have seen a new vegetable popping up at the market lately: a tall, slender stalk topped by a broccoli-ish crown with an occasional tiny yellow flower sprouting in it. That vegetable is known as broccolini or asparation, and it tastes like a cross between broccoli and asparagus, with a mild hint of the former’s flavor and a texture much like that of the latter. The asparagus-like stalks are very edible – you might even say the best part – so you don’t have to spend much time prepping the broccolini before cooking it. And seeing as you only need to simmer it for five minutes, broccolini is one of the easiest veggies to include in your dinner.
Broccolini with Black Rice
Base portion sizes on suggestions given in parentheses.
Several bunches broccolini (figure on about 1/2 a bunch per person)
Cooked rice (figure on about 1/2 cup per person) of whatever color you’d like except for white – white rice has had its nutritious bran and germ removed and is basically an empty starch, much like stripped-out white flour*
Sharp aged cheese such as Gouda or Manchego or goat-cheese Cheddar, cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
Rinse broccoli and trim off the very ends of the stems. You might also wish to separate them by cutting through the joined bases. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add broccolini, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Promptly drain.
Toss broccolini with cooked rice and cheese. Drizzle with vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: if you want a piping-hot salad and you’re using leftover refrigerated cooked rice, you can bring another pot of water to boil and simmer the cooked rice for 1 minute to reheat it, then drain well and toss with the broccolini.
* Whole-grain rice takes about 40 minutes to cook, but you can shorten its cooking time by pre-soaking the rice in the water for 6 to 8 hours before cooking it. I measure out my rice and water the night before (or first thing in the morning) and then just proceed as normal when dinnertime approaches. Cooking time will drop from 40 minutes to 20 minutes…maybe even fewer if you’ve soaked it overnight. Cook as usual and then start sampling the rice at 15 minutes to check doneness. Cooked rice also lasts about a week in the refrigerator, so you can cook a big batch once a week and then use it whenever you’d like.
Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.
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