Ingredient of the Week: Broccolini

Lovely broccolini
Lovely broccolini
Photo by John Suh

What is it?

Often mistaken as young broccoli since it's sometimes called baby broccoli, broccolini is actually more closely related to Chinese broccoli (or gai lan) than American broccoli. It has smaller florets and longer stalks than American broccoli and a mildly sweet taste resembling both broccoli and asparagus. Dubbed as the Chinese kale, it contains an abundance of both vitamins C and A, calcium, folate, and iron.

How do I use it?

Due to its fragile nature, broccolini is best prepared by sauteing, steaming, boiling, or stir-frying. Whichever method you choose, cook to just al dente; that way, they retain not only their nutrition but also their bright-green color. Because they are long and slim, broccolini makes for an elegant presentation next to your main dish.

Where can I find it?

In the produce section of most grocery stores. Choose broccolini that's crisp and bright-green. A few flowers are okay, but the buds should generally be closed. Broccolini can be stored unwashed in your vegetable crisper for about a week.

Recipe: Garlicky Broccolini This recipe from Rachael Ray, which results in a simple and delicious side dish, requires little preparation and cooking time.

What do you do with your broccolini?

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