Waste not, want not: Roasted broccoli stalks

The raw material: the broccoli stalks that remain when recipes just call for florets.

The raw material: the broccoli stalks that remain when recipes just call for florets.

I’ve been making a lot of broccoli quiche recently, and my stockpile of broccoli stalks has grown accordingly. Tonight it was time to face the music and deal with the parts of the plant I had been throwing into a bag in the fridge for the last couple of weeks. What I came up with was inspired by two recipes that were brought to my attention in the last week: one posted on Facebook by a former grad school professor, and another from a review of Root to Stalk Cooking, a new cookbook that highlights creative uses of vegetable and fruit stalks, stems, leaves, and other trimmings typically discarded by chefs (another review here). This is so easy and delicious and practical that it is definitely going to be a staple in our home. I hear that you can do the same with cauliflower, and probably other vegetables too.

What to do, what to do?

What to do, what to do?

Roasted broccoli stalks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With a knife or vegetable peeler, remove the broccoli’s tough outer skin. You’ll be able to do this on the thicker lower stalk and less so (or possibly not at all) as you move up and the stalk branches out into thinner limbs. Not to worry, as the more slender branches – with their tender skin – won’t need to be peeled.  Thinly slice or shave broccoli stems to a similar thickness. Place in a baking dish (it’s fine if they pile all over each other), drizzle and toss with olive oil, and add freshly ground salt and black pepper. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

 

Broccoli stalks evoke whimsical shapes, such as stars and amoeba.

Broccoli stalks evoke whimsical shapes, such as stars and amoeba.

 

Optional add-ins include minced garlic, bread crumbs, and/or chile flakes. And maybe even spritzing the dish with lemon juice after it’s out of the oven. If you don’t have (or want to add) these extras, it is absolutely delicious on its own, as the broccoli stalks have a complex, delicate, and elegant flavor. Depending on the way you cut them, you may end up with whimsical shapes like stars or amoeba, due to the branching pattern of the stalks. Have fun!

Quote of the Day

“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of man.” – Emile Zola

Wondering how you can reduce suffering, one plate at a time? Here are some suggestions from Ginny Messina: Become a vegan in 10 easy steps. Any reduction you can make in your consumption of animal products results in less cruelty to animals, so get started with whatever changes you can make now. You might be surprised to see how easy – and delicious – it can be! Choosing a veggie option instead of chicken at dinner may not seem like much to you, but to that chicken, it’s the world.

Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

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