I’m old enough to remember when George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, loudly proclaimed on TV, “I hate broccoli.” I must say, that was an ill-conceived comment. Somewhere in some prep school, someone must have forced the vegetable on him and this was the result. And I know that a lot of kids (and adults) most likely share his view. Which is shame. Broccoli is not only healthy but, when prepared well, it can be quite tasty. Unlike the late President, I am a proponent of broccoli. Always have been, even as a boy back during the Punic Wars.
The recipe given today emphasizes this ethos. It’s simple but delicious. Broccoli does not have to be smothered in a sauce to make it palatable. This unusual way of serving broccoli turns it into a savory dish. The broccoli is combined with black olives, onion, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Green olives may be used instead of black, but black olives give it a more contrasting color which makes the dish more interesting. Served over rice (or your favorite grain), this dish makes a great vegetarian dinner, which even non-veggies will like. It can also be served as an accompaniment to grilled/broiled steaks or pork chops.
BROCCOLI WITH BLACK OLIVES
1½ pound broccoli
1¼ cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small-to-medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt and black ground pepper taste
¾ cup pitted black olives, halved
4-5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash the broccoli, remove the leaves and break the florets into fairly large bunches.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil, and add the broccoli. Cover the pan and cook the broccoli for 10 minutes over moderate-high heat. Drain the broccoli. Reserve the water in which the broccoli was cooked.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook the broccoli for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add some of the water in which the broccoli was cooked if the pan gets too dry.
- Add the olives to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Place the broccoli and olives in a warm serving dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.