I feel for broccoli. That poor vegetable can never catch a break. For years, it’s been cast aside as the poster vegetable that kids inherently hate. Then the kids grow into adults, and continue to loathe this vitamin-packed veggie because it’s ‘healthy’, as if that is a bad thing.

Oh, my dear broccoli, how did you manage to get such a bad rap? Tell me, who did you piss off?

During my younger years, the options for preparation were fairly limited to steamed, or steamed with cheese sauce. It’s a wonder how I managed to not disown this vegetable with choices like that.

But broccoli is not all bad, and it doesn’t just come in one variety. One I urge you to look out for is broccolini. It is a cross between our everyday broccoli and kai-lan, or Chinese broccoli, resulting in smaller florets and long, slender stalks instead of short, fibrous ones.

Broccolini is tender and sweet like asparagus. Plus, it will may make you feel less like a rabbit strenuously chewing on ruffage. Perhaps you can start your kids off with broccolini, then ease them into broccoli through the back door. Mwahahaha.

Try it with lots of garlic and a little chile, simple and on the table in 15 minutes.

Broccolini with Chile and Garlic Recipe

1/2 lb broccolini
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Trim each stem of the broccolini to remove the dried end. Place in a deep saute pan and cover with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to simmer. Once it begins to simmer, drain broccolini. This provides a gentle pre-cooking, while also making the color of the broccolini a more vibrant green. The color may seem inconsequential, but half the pleasure of eating food is observing its beauty. If your food doesn’t look good, you probably won’t think it tastes good either.

Return empty pan to the stove, and heat on medium-high heat. Add olive oil, chile and garlic. Let garlic and chile sizzle for about 1 minute, stirring so that it doesn’t burn. Add in broccolini, a good pinch of salt and fresh black pepper. Toss to coat. Let saute for about 4-5m until broccolini gets a little color. Serve.

Broccolini will be tender, but still have a mild crunch. This is strictly a no-soggy-broccoli zone.

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