Jim Hillibish: Garlic and broccoli a match made in heaven
Two things inflame the passions of Italians everywhere. Actually, make that three, but this is a food story.
They are garlic and broccoli. They are life. They are beauty. They are to be consumed in a flourish of pleasure. And they stink.
The affinity these two things have for each other is a marriage made in heaven.
Broccoli is so improbable. How anybody ever decided it was edible is beyond imagination. It’s a clump of green something sitting on a stalk. It has the appetizing texture of sculpted carpet.
Then one day, somebody tried it, liked it and told everybody, at which point nobody could disagree.
And garlic. Those smelly buds seem closer to mothballs than food. Even starving rabbits shun them in the garden.
No matter, garlic is the most often used seasoning throughout the world this side of salt and pepper.
A Traditional Recipe
The classic way to serve broccoli with garlic is simple and direct. It’s very Italian, but also in the cuisine of the Middle East, Africa and India.
Italians start with a head of broccoli. Wash it thoroughly. Cut it into individual florets or small stems with that green stuff on top. We’re now left with the big stem. Since we paid $1.29 for it, we’re reluctant to throw it away. Peel it and slice into thin strips.
As for the garlic, we need about four nice cloves, peeled and diced.
Coat the bottom of a large, iron skillet with olive oil. Dump in the minced garlic.
Keep stirring a minute or so, just until the garlic turns translucent. Dump in broccoli stem pieces and florets. Flip them around.
Then, just as the carpeting turns a brighter green, cover and off heat for five minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the broccoli to steam.
It also allows you to prepare for the stampede to the table when that wall of incredible aroma reaches the TV room.
Nothing else to it, except for perhaps a dusting of Parmesan cheese at the table, if you wish. Serve as a side dish to seafood or whatever. It goes well with just about anything.
I like it simmered in tomato sauce with onion, then poured over pasta. It’s a meatless dish of exceptional good health.
Here we have great health -- garlic has many benefits, broccoli is one of the richest in vitamins of the green veggies.
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