I wan’t always fully conscious of how much I love broccoli stems. It started with the way I cut the florets—instead of the usual blunt cut across the stem, I included more and more of the stalk by making long, snaking cuts. Next, I looked longingly at my oldest daughter’s dinner plate, mourning all those lovely stems with just the tops gnawed off. And so on a recent afternoon, while making broccoli and munching the stems, it dawned on me. I love broccoli stems, and you should too. Creamy, almost buttery, with an apple-like crunch, broccoli stems are special. Their mild-flavor is a versatile vessel for tangy, sour, and salty flavors—the perfect mystery ingredient for slaws and salads.
Try this simple lemony slaw, or try adding broccoli stems to dishes where you’d add cabbage, fennel, or celery.
Simple Broccoli Stem Slaw
4 broccoli stems, julienned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
Trim the florets and reserve for another purpose. Depending on the thickness, peel or cut the outer edge off of the stems, and then slice into a thin julienne. Set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until it’s emulsified. Add the lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and whisk some more.
Toss with the prepared stems, set aside for 15 or so minutes to allow the flavors to coalesce, and then serve.
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