In this season of cheese sauces and cookies; where every gathering table seems to look more like an invitation to carbohydrate city, let us take a moment to consider a fast, tasty veggie side that won’t have you checking your blood sugar levels in the morning.
Baby broccoli – or – as some call it, broccolini. Blanched in nicely salted boiling water for just a couple of minutes, then tossed with a vinaigrette of your choosing (I went with a sweet-ish French) and a bit of freshly grated Grana cheese.
*Or any nice Parmesan-type hard cheese you prefer.
**I used this zippy and kinda sweet riff on French poppy seed dressing:
•1-1/2 cup veggie oil
•3/4 cup vinegar
•3/4 cup sugar
•1-1/2 tsp salt
•1-1/2 tsp celery seed
•1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1-1/2 tsp paprika
•1/8 to 1/4 sweet onion
•1 tbsp poppy seed
Make the dressing by combining the vinegar with the sugar, seasonings, and onion in a blender jar and pulsing until the onion is finely chopped. With the blender running, slowly add the oil through the feed hole in the lid until it has all been absorbed into the dressing and it looks rich and kinda creamy.
Add the poppy seeds, pulse to blend in, then transfer to a lidded jar and stash in the fridge until needed. This dressing is very good right away, but mebbe a little bit more better after resting in the fridge overnight.
Rinse and trim the ends off the baby broccoli – you really don’t have to do this, but I do, then stash those stalk bottoms in a bag in my freezer to make veggie stock, so I’m not really wasting anything.
Bring a large pot and a fair amount of salt (the barefoot contessa recommends two tablespoons to eight cups of water) to a boil – I was just making enough for the two of us, so my trusty asparagus pot with basket worked a treat.
Add the baby broccoli, return to a boil, and cook for just two minutes, until your veggies are this beautiful deep emerald green.
Remove from the water and toss with your vinaigrette of choice, then grate some cheese over all.
We thoroughly enjoyed ours with a salad (and more of that zippy French dressing) on the side, some barbecued chicken (a new recipe I’m working on, stay tuned), and some leftover mac and cheese and corn casserole from Thanksgiving.