In our house, we refer to broccoli florets as “little trees.” We’ve done this since our son was starting to eat solid foods. He LOVES broccoli and other green vegetables to this day (now he’s five)!
With winter in full gear, broccoli becomes one of our winter staples. It’s in the brassica family (along with other cabbage) and is hearty enough to withstand the chilly winter weather.
The word broccoli has Italian origins and stems (pun intended) from the word “broccolo” which means cabbage sprout or flowering crest of the cabbage. The word broccolo is rooted (another pun!) in the Latin broccus which means “projecting.”
Now that we have the etymology covered, here’s one of our favorite ways to prepare our “little trees”:
Steamed Broccoli with Pistachio-Orange Dipping Sauce
Prepare the Broccoli:
Cut 2 heads of broccoli into bite sized pieces. Steam or blanch until just tender. Set your timer for 5 minutes then test a piece with a fork, or knife point. When cooking the broccoli, remember to lightly salt the water, and that the broccoli will continue to cook with residual heat once you remove them from the steam or water, so you want them to be almost ready when you remove them to cool.
Prepare the Pistachio & Orange Sauce:
- 2 Valencia oranges
- 2 cups roasted, salted pistachios (shelled)
- 1 tbsp. Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice the oranges.
- Combine all ingredients in the blender. Blend on high.
- Taste the mixture, adjust for thickness (consistency) and salt levels.
If it tastes flat, add a teaspoon more vinegar and a dash of salt. If it tastes too sharp (indicating too much garlic), add the juice of another 1/2 orange and another handful of pistachios.
The consistency of the dip should be like hummus. Add olive oil and water to adjust as needed.
This recipe will be a little different each time you make it because all these ingredients vary… oranges are different sizes and have different amounts of juice, garlic is more or less potent depending on its age and olive oils are different depending on varietal and harvest date. So, play with your ratios each time. Taste along the way. Try the sauce with the steamed broccoli to get the full flavor profile.
If you have a little one in your house, this is a great recipe to make together. At this point our son instructs us on salt level, acidity and overall balance. And he LOVES dipping his “little trees” into this sauce!
See you soon,