What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

May 2, 2012

Broccolette: The Amazingly Healthy & Quick Veggie

Broccolette: The Amazingly Healthy & Quick Veggie

It tastes good, it’s easy to cook and it’s good for you too! Whether called broccolette or broccolini, this locally grown veggie is an easy and nutritious addition to weeknight dinners.

By Robbie Sigona

As healthy as broccoli, but without that cabbage-y note, broccolette is a great way to revitalize weeknight dinner plates as a quick, flavorful and nutritious side veggie. Plus, this all-edible vegetable can be cooked and ready to go in just minutes.

All in less time than it takes to steam broccoli!

For a simple side, all you have to do is blanch a bunch in boiling water for three minutes, drain and sauté with a little olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and seasoning. Viola! It’s ready. Uncle Carmelo did this for Easter, but he blanched the broccolette ahead of time and popped it in an ice bath until it was time to eat. Just before we sat down to eat he sautéed the broccolette to reheat and add flavor. Simple and delicious!

While broccolette may be green, it’s surprisingly packed with vitamin C. Only one cup, about eight stalks, provides 130 percent of the daily recommended requirement. Plus, one cup is only 35 calories and presents a significant amount of fiber and vitamin A.

You Say Broccolini, I Say Broccolette

“What’s in a name? Whether our featured green veggie is called broccolette, broccolini, baby broccoli or mini-broccoli, it’s still a cross between broccoli and gai lan (also known as Chinese broccoli).

Broccolette, the name given by our local supplier, locally based Earthbound Farm, is like crisp (not firm), delicate broccoli, but sweeter and less fibrous. It has a flavor similar to broccoli with a hint of pepper and mustard, but without broccoli’s cabbage-y note. It’s its gai lan heritage that provides its sweet factor and lightly crisp disposition.

Broccolette is grown year-round, but it is in especially good supply from local growers just south of Hollister, Calif., this time of year. When our region experiences cooler weather, Earthbound works with growers from warmer growing areas, such as Southern California and Yuma, Ariz.

My Uncle Carmelo and my dad Joe remember when we first brought in broccolette. We worked with one of the early growers from Salinas from whom we also received large deliveries of broccoli each week. The brothers knew that this new cross between broccoli and gai lan would be a hit among our customers so they brought it in and haven’t looked back since.

Steam it, Stir-Fry it, Put it on a Pizza

The best part about broccolette is it’s all edible, stems and all. The ends may need a bit of a trim before cooking, but that’s it. Broccolette can be eaten steamed, parboiled, stir-fried, roasted or raw, and is versatile enough that it can also be used as a snazzy topping for pizza.

Just keep in mind that it shouldn’t be overcooked. Broccolette should remain juicy and crunchy for most recipes. Make sure to check out our broccolette recipes, including one for Broccolette & Charred Lemon Flatbread Pizza with Roasted Garlic Spread.

We hope you come in to pick up a bunch or two of broccolette. With its easy prep and pleasant flavor, it’s guaranteed to be a go to for fast weeknight dinners. See you in the store!

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