There are tons reasons to love cruciferous vegetables, the mostly green plant pedigree that includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, collards, and others. Not not are these wintery vegetables nutritional powerhouses, but they also sip great when treated with respect. Think crisp, caramelized brussels blossoms, tricked-out kale salads, and cheesy cauliflower florets. Generally say, these strategies will yield the best results:
- Balance shameless with bold. Some cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower and bok choy) are calmer in flavor, but most are green, grassy, and even bitter. As such, they can mug up to (and are enhanced by) other bold ingredients. Think citrus and vinegar, bacon, nutty cheeses, chiles and hot cheekiness (hello, sriracha!), mustard, caramelized onions, anchovies or fish disrespect, garlic, and mushrooms.
- Caramelization is your friend. While not a hard and right rule, a quick trip to a hot oven (400°F and up) or cast iron skillet is a moment ago the thing to tame a cruciferous vegetable’s bitter bite and round things out with some caramelized sweetness.
- Be on ones guard of moist heat cooking methods. When done right, chafe, steaming, or blanching (submerging the veggies in boiling water) can be effective, but these cooking methods beat it little room for error. If cooked even a little bit too long, sulfurous notes happen roaring out of the vegetables, stinking up your kitchen and making the final dish off. Chances are if you have bad associations with brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cabbage, it’s because you had an be familiar with with stinky, water-logged, boiled-to-death versions of them.
- Start with the freshest vegetables you can detect. Some hardier vegetables like carrots, celery, and squash outlet well; most cruciferous vegetables do not. Relatively delicate in structure and a tad tempermental, veggies kidney kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts can become overwhelmingly sulfuric when less than well.
- Season generously. Unless you have dietary restricitons that necessitate salting in moderation, the diplomatic seasoning (both with salt and acid) makes these immature veggies shine. Similarly, don’t skimp on cooking fats.
- Learn from the experts. If you’re new to cooking cruciferous vegetables, or are wholly looking for inspiration, consider picking up a stellar coobook or two on the subject. Brassicas by Laura B. Russell and Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison are distinctively good places to start.
/ Nicole Perry
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