Shells with broccoli

If you’re like me (or like I used to be), you may be thinking broccoli is a fall/winter vegetable. Time to dispel that notion: If you plant a spring garden, or you have a good farmer nearby to purchase from at the farmers market you can have some very delicious broccoli in early summer.

There are at least two things to do with early summer broccoli. One is to not cook it and make a broccoli salad with mayo, red wine vinegar, a little honey, raisins and/or bacon. I’ll research that and get back to you on that score.

The second thing to do with early summer broccoli is to chop it up, sauté and eat with some pasta shells or little things like ziti. Not overcooked, it is nutty, delicious, bright green. Fabulous. In all good ways.

Here’s how:

Ingredients: (per person)

1 stalk broccoli

2 (hefty!) cloves garlic

1-1/2 pieces of anchovy  (I prefer in jars.  Do not use anchovy paste, which is vile.)

dried red pepper flakes (or fresh Serrano, diced)

Olive oil

Romano cheese, grated

2 oz pasta shells

  1. Put up a big pot of water to boil with lots of (kosher) salt.
  2. Put your organic broccoli in a sink or pot of salted water for ½ hour or as long as you have to soak. This rehydrates the broccoli (which you probably don’t need if it’s local and freshly harvested, but I do it anyway) and makes any green worms sink from the salt and away from your broccoli.
  3. When the water has come to a boil and your broccoli has soaked long enough, throw in the pasta, and cook for a good 10+ minutes or until al dente.
  4. Chop your broccoli: Cut the flower tips up and cut in larger pieces. Chop the stems and stalk finely, cutting off tough outside of lower stalk. (Believe me: with fresh broccoli even the stalk is delicious.)
  5. Chop your garlic and anchovy.
  6. Heat a sauté pan, add a big glug of olive oil, and throw in garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, broccoli, S&P. Stir and cook at a robust temp. Ladle in some pasta water to stew gently, covered. DO NOT OVERCOOK. You want the broccoli crisp-tender, not mushy or it will lose all of its early summer fresh charm.image
  7. Grate your cheese and set aside. Put a bowl on the stove to warm up.
  8. When pasta is done, drain and put into bowl. Throw your broccoli mixture on top and add cheese. Mangia!

Note: you can make this vegetarian by omitting anchovies and perhaps substituting capers, drained, rinsed and chopped.


Source: Sundays at Moosewood (very good Italian section)

Oven-roasted dinner! (salmon, asparagus and taters)

No stove-top used!  Nutritious, delicious fish dinner ready in 45 minutes.


Oven-roasted salmon filets with shitake mushrooms

Roasted baby potatoes with garlic and thyme

Oven-roasted asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub taters, cut in ½ or thirds, and put into baking dish with a few whole peeled garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme (or dried, crumbled by hand), S&P. Add drizzle of olive oil, and mix around. Pour in a splash of water (steam will help taters cook). Place potatoes cut side down, cover with aluminum foil and put in oven. Your dinner is now 40 minutes away. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Prepare asparagus in usual manner (breaking off bottoms; rinse). Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (if desired for easy clean-up). Sprinkle on soy sauce and olive oil. Mix around, then spread out.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove cover from potatoes. Increase oven temp to 425 degrees and continue roasting potatoes, cut side down.
  5. Prepare fish: Cut mushrooms in half. Take out another baking pan and line with foil. Put in a little oil and place cut mushrooms tops down in a line. Season fish with S&P. Place fish good side down on mushrooms, with skin side up.
  6. When timer is at 15 minutes, put asparagus into oven.
  7. About 12 minutes out, or however degree of doneness you like your salmon (and depending on thickness of filet), put fish into oven.
  8. Go set your table, pour yourself a nice glass of seltzer, and RELAX. Dinner is almost done.
  9. Check your potatoes by sticking a fork in ‘em to see if their done. They can sit out of the oven waiting for the rest of the meal, or not. (Ditto with asparagus.) Turn taters with a spatula if you’re worrying about them sticking or getting too brown (they’re probably just fine)
  10. Remove fish from pan with a spatula, trying to flip over to serve with mushrooms on top.

Voila! Dinner is served!

Another salmon option: Prepare a compound butter by mashing together room-temp butter with lemon zest and some seasoning or herb mixture, such as Izak (cumin, sweet red pepper flakes, garlic). Place on top of fish when going into oven. And some on the way out. Preheat pan with butter to coat bottom of pan before laying on fish. Mmm