Steamed, buttered broccoli makes an excellent side dish for a wide variety of meals. A cup of bright-green, steamed broccoli adds color to a grilled steak or piece of broiled salmon. It complements a plate of macaroni and cheese or seasoned rice. Gently steaming broccoli preserves its high vitamin and mineral content. After it's steamed, you can coat it in butter or add a variety of other seasonings.
Rinse broccoli thoroughly in cold water. Prepare the broccoli by chopping off the stem's woody end and trimming its leaves and tough outer layer. Stand the broccoli on its head so you can easily see where the florets meet the stem. Cut each floret away from the stem separately. If you want smaller florets, break them apart by hand to avoid crumbling them with your knife. Chop the stem into bite-sized pieces.
Place the florets and stem pieces into a bamboo or metal steamer that fits into your pan without touching the bottom. Arrange the broccoli loosely in the steamer, leaving room for the steam to envelop each piece. If you don't have a steamer, you can use a metal colander. When steaming, you want to suspend the steamer over boiling water and create an enclosed environment so the steam cannot escape. If the vegetables sit directly in the boiling water, they will lose both flavor and nutrients.
Plenty of Steam
Bring one inch of water to boil. Insert the steamer filled with broccoli and add a sprinkling of salt to help bring out the flavor. Broccoli will cook thoroughly in about 5 minutes. Midway through the process, quickly lift the lid and remove one piece to check it for doneness. Run it under cold water to avoid scalding your mouth. You want to steam the broccoli just long enough to soften it and give it a bright color. Monitor the process carefully. Broccoli can quickly turn mushy and pale in the steamer.
Drain the steamed broccoli. Place in a warm serving bowl and coat with softened or melted butter to your preference. Generally one head of broccoli needs at least 1 tablespoon of butter, but you could add one or two more. You can also sprinkle the broccoli with salt, pepper and lemon juice. If you have some fresh parsley or marjoram on hand, chop them into tiny pieces and mix them into the buttered broccoli.
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