Friday, May 27, 2011

Lemon Garlic Broccoli Sidedish

Yum broccoli- I used to hate broccoli when I was younger- now I love it.  You can roast it, eat it raw, steam it, stir fry it etc.  When fresh broccoli goes on sale, I buy a whole lot of it because I just bring it home and freeze it myself- it turns out to be cheaper than if I bought it frozen already (try and get it on sale like 99¢ a pound.  Not a bunch, by the pound!). 

First, start a big pot of water boiling.  Then while you wait for that to boil take your broccoli and cut it up into regular floret pieces and rinse them.  When the water boils we are going to blanch* them.  Dump them in the water and keep them there for about a min or so- when they turn a really bright green strain them and you can either run them under cold water (which I do because I'm lazy) or you can do it the right way and "shock"** them.

(*Blanching is boiling a vegetable for about a min or two to bring out all the bright green color, take away that raw taste, but still keep it crisp-ish.  It also helps to prep it for freezing.  I have tried freezing it raw- and believe me it just does not work)
(**"Shocking" is taking a blanched item and putting it directly into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process to keep that bright color and crisp texture)

Let the broccoli drain and cool, then pop in ziplocks and put in the freezer!

Then when you want to use them, you can either let them defrost and use however you want- If I'm roasting I using squeeze some water from them first.  Or you can just put them in a microwavable dish and enjoy steamed- just like from the frozen food section! And that is what I did with this super easy recipe:

  • About 2 to 3 cups of broccoli
  • a lemon (zest* and juice)
  • salt & pepper to taste (about a 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • a clove of garlic peeled
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter (or the butter substitutes)
  • extra virgin olive oil-EVOO (optional)
  1. If the broccoli is frozen- put in your microwave dish and put in the microwave for about 4 mins to get them going. 
  2. Pop the garlic out of its skin and lightly smash- trying to keep it intact- we are going to pull the clove out later, just using it a bit to lightly flavor the broccoli.  This dish really is about the clean lemon taste. Or you can just totally omit this step.
  3. When the broccoli can be easily mixed up and is not frozen solid, take all the ingredients (except the oil) and mix all together.
  4. Put back into the microwave and cook until done.  Drizzle with a bit of EVOO if you want and serve next to whatever's for dinner or all by itself! Just don't serve the garlic clove.

*Lemon Zest: what an awesome flavor booster- and you already bought the lemon, so why not use all of it.  The zest is where the essential oils are.  Use only the colored part, because the white part (the pith) is bitter and no good for eating.  You need a zester, but they are cheap and good for other things like cheese, nutmeg, garlic etc.  A zester was one of my very first kitchen gadgets. There are different types of zesters- try and get one that is a microplane one- because the citrus zester is (obviously) just for citrus. The one below is what I have- a microplane

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