Thursday, 7 February 2008

B is for Broccoli

Broccoli - either you like it or you don’t like it or you end up getting used to it. Every food expert has jumped on the band wagon extolling its virtues and those of its cruciferous cousins: packed full of nutrients, cancer fighter and now a sun screen! Wonder whether you tan or just turn green? Other than making sure the florets are deeply colored, not yellowed or pale, and the stalk is not suffering from limpness, there seems to be no way to ascertain whether any particular bunch may be bitter which has undoubtedly caused many to avoid this particular vegetable including a former President. I suspect quantum fluctuations alter the taste according to the interference of the diner. Another problem is overcooking which not only erodes the nutrient value, but results in a mushy unpalatable mess. Best cooking method is to stick to purchasing heads without the stalk and steaming the split up florets for 4/5 minutes. If in doubt, whip up a creamy cheese sauce to smother any potential taste dilemma.

Flour                              2 tablespoons.
Butter                            2 tablespoons.
Mustard                        1 teaspoon dry hot.
Milk                                1 1/2 cups.
Salt                                  to taste.
Pepper                            1/4 teaspoon ground white
Cheese                            1 cup shredded old cheddar

Over low heat in a small pot (.75 liter non stick is perfect), stir the flour and seasonings into the melted butter with a wooden spoon until combined to form a smooth roux. Either have the milk warmed in a second pot or remove the roux from the heat allowing it to cool – this will prevent the milk separating from heating too quickly. Add in the milk slowly, stirring constantly as the heat is raised to medium. Once bubbles form over the entire surface, cook and stir for another minute to fully cook flour. Toss in the cheese and stir in well to combine.
For an upscale version, leave out the dry mustard and use ½ cup of crumbled Gorgonzola Piccante instead of the cheddar.

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