Cooked or raw, broccoli stems are worth saving

Purchased as a contingency plan, broccoli was the saving grace of a recent family meal.

The crown of broccoli was the last green vegetable remaining in our fridge after a long weekend away and the postponement of grocery shopping. With some brown rice and a few frozen and oven-baked eggrolls, it constituted something of a meal.

Little did I know that an entire head of broccoli was just enough to sate the appetite of my younger son, who clamored for more “bokkkeee, bokkkeee!” How lucky are we, my husband and I joked, that our kid is begging for more brown rice and broccoli.

Fortunately, I also had seen fit to roast the broccoli stems, along with the florets, or there wouldn’t have been a bite to spare for me and my husband. It’s just too bad, I mused, that many stores, the one where I shop included, remove most of the stem before sale. It’s a measure, no doubt, aimed at the consumer who simply discards the stem. Organic broccoli, it’s worth noting, usually is sold with stems intact.

I’ve learned to love the stem over the past few years. Peeled and then sautéed or roasted, it’s actually more tender and mild-flavored than the more showy florets. Most of us have seen it preshredded and packaged as slaw, a budget-savvy way to use it without cooking.

And there’s also this recipe, essentially a quick pickle, that repurposes broccoli stems, according to a recent Tribune News Service story about reducing waste in the kitchen.

Tribune News Service photo

Marinated Broccoli Stems

3 or 4 broccoli stems

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped or pressed

1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or use equal parts oil and vinegar)

Peel the broccoli stems and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a jar, combine stems with the salt; refrigerate overnight. In the morning, pour off water that has accumulated in jar.

Add the garlic, vinegar and oil to jar, stir well and refrigerate for several hours. These keep for a week or more, but color will fade.

Makes 4 servings.

— Recipe from Martha Rose Shulman via Los Angeles Times.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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