SCIENTIFIC NAME: Brassica oleracea
Broccoli was harvested as a leafy cole crop in the Northern Mediterranean in the 6th century BCE. Since the Roman empire, the Italians consider Broccoli to be a uniquely valuable food. Peter Scheemakers then introduced Broccoli to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century. It was further introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, but only became widely recognised in the 1920s. The word ‘broccoli’ derives from the Italian plural broccolo, referring to ‘the flowering top of a cabbage’, as this plant is part of the cabbage family. Usually green, broccoli has a large flower head arranged in a tree-like formation on branches sprouting from a thick stalk.
Broccoli has numerous health benefits as it is an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and dietary fibre. It also contains folic acid, magnesium, pantothenic acid, iron and vitamin A. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli comprises multiple nutrients, such as glucoraphanin which is processed into sulforaphane and helps fight cancer. The anti-cancer properties are greatly reduced once the vegetable is boiled.
- 3 heads broccoli
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 lemon juiced
- Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Trim approx. 2.5cm off the ends of the broccoli stalks and cut the broccoli lengthwise into spears. Arrange the broccoli on baking paper and drizzle with some olive oil, season with a pinch of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove the broccoli from the oven and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake until the cheese melt and forms a crisp shell over the broccoli, about 10 minutes. Lift the broccoli out onto a platter with a spatula and drizzle with fresh lemon.
AVAILABILITY: All year round
The average American eats over 2 kilos of broccoli per year according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, however, are only the third largest producer of broccoli worldwide. China comes in as the largest producer of broccoli, providing over 8 million tonnes of broccoli per year.
HOW TO STORE
Consume broccoli as fresh as possible, however, it is best to store it by wetting the head and wrapping it in damp paper towel, then place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not store broccoli in a sealed plastic bag, although a perforated bag is acceptable.
References: Wikipedia; Lifestyle food; Home Cooking