Broccoli Is Beautiful and Delicious

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful food podcast, talks about how to turn around broccoli’s lackluster reputation.

Even though George H. W. Bush maligned broccoli, many people, including Pashman and Leonard Lopate, have always liked it. It can be steamed, roasted, eaten raw, or used in a sandwich or on pizza.

"Things that I think make broccoli so exciting are, first, it’s textural contrast. Most vegetable are going to be one consistency, however you cook them,” said Pashman. “Broccoli, by virtue of its stems and florets, can achieve two different consistencies in the same dish.”

Pashman referred to chef Tyler Kord’s cookbook Broccoli as a good source for unusual recipes, like the broccoli sub, pickled broccoli stems, and roast beef with broccoli marmalade.

“The greatest thing about broccoli is that the florets are absorbent,” Pashman said, which makes broccoli especially delicious with butter or roasted with a sauce. He likes to roast it with a sweet Indonesian sauce.

Leonard Lopate shared his own simple recipe for steamed broccoli: Cut up broccoli, mostly florets, but some stems are also good to include. Put it in a bowl, add a little water, some salt and pepper, a little butter, cover it, and microwave it for 2-3 minutes.

Watch chef Tyler Kord prepare a broccoli sub.


Watch Dan Pashman show Matt Lauer the right way to eat pizza and chicken wings on the Today Show




Dan Pashman

Comments [21]

Joan Rubenstein from Somers, NY

I cook broccoli the same way as you do, Leonard, except that I add the butter after it's out of the microwave---delicious!

Mar. 25 2014 11:15 PM
Jeff Marker from Brooklyn

I have no problem with people liking broccoli, but I object to the statement that broccoli is delicious. All taste is a matter of opinion. Say "I like broccoli" or "I find broccoli delicious" but don't make a statement of fact.

I hate broccoli in all forms. One of the few things I agree with Bush 41 about. I just found it offensive that Leonard and his guest kept stating "Broccoli is delicious" as a fact.

Mar. 25 2014 06:29 PM
Jennifer Seligman from new jersey

Whose up for a quick lesson in kosher laws?:) all insects are not kosher except for a certain type of species of locust, and there's debate whether we know which one that is or not. Bugs are like shrimp, pork, etc--nothing to do with dairy or meat--they are forbidden.
Now, normally, if a small amount of non kosher food is in a kosher food, but the amount of kosher food is 60 times that of the non kosher food, that non kosher food is considered nullified since it is believed one couldn't taste it due to its small proportion. However, if the non kosher food is a whole bug, not pieces of a bug, this is more difficult, and the whole bug is considered not nullified. Therefore, some Jews are worried (a bit too much, in my humble opinion), that there could be small whole bugs in their vegetables, and vegetables and fruits such as broccoli and strawberries are considered by some as too difficult to check. Other orthodox Jews however, just wash the vegetables thoroughly, do a quick check, and then feel fine eating these types of produce, such as myself. Asparagus spears and spinach are also vegetables some very orthodox Jews avoid for these reasons. Great show!

Mar. 25 2014 02:03 PM
Daniel from Manhattan

Albert Broccoli, producer of James Bond movies, was born in Astoria, Queens on April 5th, 1909. His mother and father, Cristina and Giovanni Broccoli, raised Albert in New York on the family farm. The family was in the vegetable business, and Albert claimed one of his uncles brought the first broccoli seeds into the United States in the 1870's.

Mar. 25 2014 01:31 PM
JohnM from New Jerey

I don't know why people need fancy sauces with broccoli. It is great raw with a dip or in salad. Steamed for 1 or 2 minutes in boiling water it is great in salads, pasta dishes and as a side for chicken and pork dishes.

Mar. 25 2014 01:22 PM

I had the best broccoli side last night. Cut up onion in wedges like a pizza but 16 times instead of 8 pieces. Place it in the heated stir pan with peanut oil. Add some coconut oil also and broccoli flowerts and stir under medium/high heat and before crunchy finish add oyster sauce and viola.

Mar. 25 2014 01:22 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Who said to cook broccoli for 20 minutes? Most of the time the problem w/broccoli is that it's overcooked. I recommend that anyone who thinks broccoli tastes bad try cooking it for only 3-5 minutes (& 5 is pushing it). I actually put it in soup at the same time as leafy greens so they cook for the same amount of time.

Mar. 25 2014 01:21 PM
J from nj

My new favorite vegetable is broccolini. ! It's incredible. Steam it or saute it with a little olive oil in a pan. Recommended.

Mar. 25 2014 01:20 PM

CUT broccoli into spears...then ROAST in the oven on high heat...400F will do, with a little olive oil. In 20 minutes.(tops) you have an excellent, almost creamy vegetable on the inside....and crispy outside.

A little Maldon salt and you're good to go.

Mar. 25 2014 01:19 PM
Zach from Brooklyn NY

Note to last caller: Raw foods have a lower bioavailability of nutrients. Bioavailability is the ease in which your body can absorb nutrients. meaning that when you cook food, it denatures fibers and proteins (which is a good thing)and your body can more easily absorb and use the nutrients from the food. There is a reason that humans evolved to eat cook food, and the reason is that there is a higher absorption rate of nutrients from cooked food!

Mar. 25 2014 01:18 PM
Estelle from Brooklyn

The kosher concern about minute insects (which would be unkosher) in broccoli
and cauliflower is absurd. The rules for kosher come from a time when such creatures were unknown.

Mar. 25 2014 01:18 PM

Broccoli chips: Peel the broccoli stems, and slice diagonally. Sprinkle with kosher salt. That's it. My kids cannot get enough of this.

Mar. 25 2014 01:15 PM
Al from Eastchester, NY

"Broccoli Pesto"

broccoli flowers, 6 oz
garlic, 1-3 cloves (3 if you like garlic, 1 if you're wishy-washy)
walnuts, four ounces
Grated parmesan, two ounces
olive oil, 7 fl. ounces
salt and pepper to taste

You know the rest; grind it up. I have a wimpy little electric chopper, so I prep everything separately and just throw it all into the same bowl.

It's good pesto; broc and garlic are a good combination. Saves you a buck or two as well over basil, especially at this time of year.

Mar. 25 2014 01:15 PM
Effie Serlis

I've been spreading this recipe for broccoli salad to everyone who is interested. It is my favorite broccoli recipe. Serve it luke warm. Steamed broccoli to just tender but still green, cool and dress with olive oil, sweet Japanese rice vinegar, black onion seed and sea salt. Yummy! I can eat a whole bunch of broccoli this way.

Mar. 25 2014 01:15 PM
Laura Marchese from Montclair, NJ

Spaghetti with broccoli Sicilian style - my mom would boil it to bits and throw all of it including the water onto the pasta. Starchy water from boiling the pasta would be added if it needed more juice - great with pepper and grated cheese - yum!

Mar. 25 2014 01:14 PM

The concern with bugs in broccoli has nothing to do with dairy or meat. It's a very hard vegetable to check for insects and the Torah forbids the consumption of insects.

Mar. 25 2014 01:14 PM
Patrick McNulty from Windsor Terrace

Delicious brocoli recipe:

Sear Brocoli
Finish with Bragg's and nutritional yeast

Mar. 25 2014 01:13 PM
Kristen from Morris Plains, NJ

Fresh broccoli sauteed in olive oil with lemon pepper. My whole family (including boys, 10 & 8) eats it up. I can't make enough!

Mar. 25 2014 01:12 PM
Stephanie from Colorado

My sons loved broccoli. I would steam and add butter and lemon. They would pick them up and laugh, saying, 'Look Mom, I'm eating little trees!'

Mar. 25 2014 01:11 PM
Marina from Manhattan

Are you kidding? There is no amount of marketing that can convince me that broccoli, at least the usual, American kind, has a pleasant flavor (or texture). Broccoli rabe, with its slightly peppery bite, I can get, but not the fibrous semi-sweet traditional broccoli. I'm sure it's healthy, but let's not kid ourselves. Let's say it's a "specialized" taste.

Mar. 25 2014 01:11 PM
Sarah from UES

I'm not sure how old your guest is, but our family in Pennsylvania didn't know what broccoli was until the late '80s. I remember then it was "trendy" at least for us.

Mar. 25 2014 01:08 PM

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