Thursday, June 24, 2010

Money from Broccoli: Broccoli "Coins" & Walnut Salad

I really hate to waste food. If a recipe asks for a half of a pepper, I’m thinking immediately what I might do with the rest of the pepper. (Sometimes, it’s “Oh, just chop the whole thing and put it in.”) Same with onion. I know those things can always go in a frittata or a soup, and I often save broccoli stalks for just that very reason. But when I found a recipe that actually specified using the stalks and “save the florets for another use” I had to read on.

The recipe comes from the very first cookbook I ever bought for myself:  Glamour’s Gourmet on the Run, by Jane Kirby. I read the magazine all the time back then and  I read the cooking column before anything else. I loved that book, and still refer to it often. It’s stained and pages are falling out but it still has a place of honor on my bookshelf. I learned a lot from that book; still do. Mostly I learned that you don’t need to follow a recipe, once you get a few what-goes-with-what concepts down. And I learned that good cooking doesn’t necessarily need to take a lot of time; fresh ingredients, not exotic or fancy ones, and an understanding of herbs and spices and various cooking techniques are far more important. (But I still love to spend an afternoon in the kitchen fussing over food prep.)

The coin shapes are really pretty cool looking; kinda like looking at cloud shapes.  I'm sure they'd be just as good served warm as a side.  Below is the recipe from the book.   Here’s what I did differently (probably learned this from the book): I added strawberries, because I had them; I used gorgonzola, ditto; I used red romaine, because that’s what’s growing in my garden, and I just used balsamic vinegar as a dressing. Oh, and I used more that just 1/3 cup walnuts.  (And I forgot to add the cheese before I took the picture.) Now, what do I do with the florets?
Broccoli Coins &Walnut Salad
from Glamour’s Gourmet on the Run, by Jane Kirby
4 stalks broccoli
1 T butter or margarine
1/3 C coarsely chopped walnuts
1 head red leaf lettuce
1/3 C crumbled bleu cheese
Oil & vinegar dressing

With a sharp knife, cut buds from broccoli; reserve for another use. Slice stalks into ¼ in “coins.” Steam for 5 to 7 minutes or until just tender. Drain and run under cold water until cool.

Heat butter in skillet. Add walnuts and sauté 2 to 3 minutes; drain. Clean lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces. Add to salad bowl with broccoli and walnuts. Sprinkle with bleu cheese. Add dressing; toss and serve. Makes 4 servings.


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