I know that lots of people grow (and buy, even) Calabrese-style broccoli. It seems to be universally popular, in different cuisines from all round the world. But do they make maximum use of this lovely veg?
Today, Jane made some Broccoli and Stilton soup (exquisite!), but when she was preparing the broccoli, this was left over:
Now I suspect that many people would just sweep these stalks into the compost bin. Maybe some of the more thrifty people would add them to their stock-pot or soup mix. But how many people see the stalks as a different vegetable altogether? The stalks of the broccoli are really nice to eat, and should not be wasted!
Use a knife or vegetable-peeler to trim off the outer fibrous skin, and you are left with this:
Slice the stems just as you would a carrot or a a turnip or piece of kohlrabi. Actually, the stem now has a texture very like Kohlrabi. You can eat it raw, but it is nicer lightly cooked - steamed or boiled, or even stir-fried.
It has all the yummy taste of broccoli, but it has a texture that is very different to the florets. I find that when sliced into 1-inch rounds (as above) they cook at the same rate as the florets, so I generally put them both in the same pan.
There aren't many people who, when buying Calabrese, actually look for the heads with the longest stems, but I'm one of them! :-)
The other day I was watching a cookery programme on TV, and Jason Atherton was advocating the "good old English cabbage" (whatever that might be). He recommended using the inner core / stem part of the cabbage, sliced up, in just the same way as I have described the broccoli. Allegedly it contains a much higher density of nutrients than the leaves. I'm going to try this next time we have a cabbage.