Broccoli is popular and widely eaten. It has a distinctive ‘mustardy’ taste and well known health benefits. The stalks, buds and most of the leaves of broccoli are edible.
This is the most popular variety and known just as broccoli. It has dark bluish-green heads with firm stalks that snap easily. Avoid using broccoli with yellowed leaves or yellow flowers through the buds.
– Romanesco broccoli is a variety that has light green clusters of heads that are pointed and look a bit like coral. Supply is limited.
Chinese broccoli has long green stems (about 2 cm in diameter and 20 cm long), white flowers and green leaves that have a white haze on them. The flowers should be in bud rather than in full bloom. To prepare, chop the leaves roughly. Peel the stem to get rid of the fibrous layer and cut it into evenly sized pieces.
Choose compact bud clusters with no yellow colouring or large open buds. Heads should be dark green or have a purple tinge (except for Romanesco, orange broccoli and broccoflower – they are a lighter, brighter green).
Broccoli is one of the most versatile vegetables. It can be served raw or lightly blanched and used in salads, pasta dishes, omelettes, quiches, soups and as a side dish.