When January arrives, it brings a bounty of amazing produce with it, including broccoli, which is one of our favourite seasonal ingredients.
In our What's In Season Guide For January, we took a look at the various ingredients that are at their best right now. Cabbage is one of those ingredients, so full of flavour throughout November that we can't help but want to use it in nearly everything.
What is broccoli?
A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is a green vegetable comprising of edible stalks, leaves and flowering buds. Native to the Mediterranean, broccoli was first engineered by the Etruscans, who lived in what we now know as Tuscany. It was then properly cultivated in the 1500s before being spread around Europe in the 1700s when it was then nicknamed 'Italian asparagus' in England.
Since then, broccoli has become a popular, staple vegetable in many countries thanks to its health benefits and taste. Such is its popularity that around 26 million tonnes of the vegetable was grown in 2017, with 73 per cent coming from China and India.
Broccoli is a great addition to a healthy diet, as it contains high levels of vitamin C, K and B-group vitamins.
Cooking with broccoli
Broccoli is a very versatile vegetable that can be cooked in a number of different ways, but boiling it can cause it to lose a great deal of its nutritional value. A better option is to steam or stir-fry it, or if you buy the frozen variety, microwaving it will also work very well.
We currently love roasted broccoli, because it helps to bring a lot of nuttiness and texture to the vegetables. You can roast it whole, halved or in individual florets – simply toss it with some oil and seasoning then place in a preheated oven until tender. We like ours with lemon and chilli, but broccoli is a great vehicle for lots of different seasonings.
We have plenty of recipes that use broccoli on the site, but some of our favourites include:
- This broccoli and squash lasagne from Avoca, which is so good that you won't even remember that lasagne usually contains meat.
- Martin Kaujiter's crispy egg and sprouting broccoli dish, which is the perfect dinner party starter.
- Rob Krawczyk's whole roast chicken and stem broccoli, which is ideal for Sunday lunch.
Click here for more recipes using broccoli.