You want to eat right, but you need a little adventure every now and then, right? Next time you’re cruising the veggie section of your neighborhood green grocer, mumbling to yourself “eenie meenie miney mo,” stop and check out broccolini.
Broccolini? Think broccoli on stilts. Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and gai-lan, a green leafy vegetable also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale. It has small florets and slender stalks. Broccoli on stilts.
Mother Nature got a bit of help from a Japanese firm called the Sakata Seed Company, which developed the hybrid and initially christened it “aspabroc” – an inauspicious name that sounds more like a sore throat condition than a food.
Other equally curious misnomers have stalked it, too, like “asparation,” which is ironic, because, although it is entirely unrelated to asparagus, broccolini has a sweet taste like asparagus. It’s also called “baby broccoli,” which is a pejorative name, because broccolini is a mature superfood unto itself. “Broccolette,” another moniker begging for attention, just doesn’t sound gender neutral enough for my taste.
Called “tenderstem broccoli” in the United Kingdom and Ireland, broccolini has become an international favorite. It is cultivated year round in California and Arizona, and is especially popular as a sweet, steamed delicacy in Japan during the spring.
From the tiny yellow flower atop the floret to the end of its slender stalk, broccolini is an edible delight. It is equally suited for sautéing, steaming, boiling, or stir frying. Because the stalks are tender, they don’t have to be peeled, and it cooks more quickly than broccoli.
In addition to its wonderful taste, it has a wealth of health benefits as well, including vitamins A, C and K, calcium, folate, and iron. It is also fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free.
And like other cruciferous vegetables, broccolini is full of antioxidants and phytochemicals – like sulforaphane, indole 3-carbinol, and crambene – that help fight colon, lung, breast, bladder, prostate, and stomach cancers.
Broccolini also contains dietary fiber that is essential in the fight against obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and ulcers.
Broccolini – the answer to your search for adventure and your quest for better health.