Broccoli hasn’t had it easy in this country.
Broccoli was first cultivated in Italy, and came to the United States in the late 19th Century, with the incoming crop of Italian immigrants. Albert Broccoli, the producer responsible for putting Ian Fleming’s James Bond on the big screen, boasted that his uncle brought the first broccoli seeds to the States in the 1870s. By the 1920s broccoli had become a commercial crop, with the D’Arrigo Brothers Company shipping the product to Boston’s growing Italian population.
But despite its loose association with the debonair spy, broccoli has never been all that popular.
Early in his presidency, President George H.W. Bush announced that he had banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One. “I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid,” President Bush declared. And as President, he vowed not to eat any more broccoli.
Before that, the New Yorker ran a cartoon showing a child scowling down at his plate. “It’s broccoli, dear,” states his mother. “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it,” he replies.
Fortunately, broccoli has begun to make a comeback, as medical research has touted the vegetable for its cancer-fighting properties. This recipe should answering any lingering questions about broccoli’s benefits.
Recipe from Melissa Clark
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
MARINATING TIME: 1 hour
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Steam the broccoli over boiling water for 1 minute, then immediately cool in a bowl of ice-water.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add the broccoli and mix well.
3. Heat a skillet with the olive oil. Add the garlic and cumin, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, add the sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the broccoli and toss well.
4. Let the mixture sit for at least an hour at room temperature, and up to 24 hours. (But be sure to refrigerate if you’re going to marinate for more than 2 hours). Adjust the seasonings as necessary, and serve!