Last night dinner at Picholine I found out that a chef uses Spigarello Broccoli in one of his dishes.
I began to spot this new green leaves this autumn at a Strawberry Farm at Union Square Greenmarket. The Strawberry Farm have been carrying it in the past 3 years, but I never attempted to try it. Spigarello Broccoli originates in Southern Italy. It is a cold season vegetable, which can withstand slight frost. This sounds like spinach, which survives in cold frosty climate and its sweetness increases as weather gets colder and frostier. The flavor of Spigarello is a mixture of a tinge of astringency, mellow sweetness and pronounced greenness. The leaves are firm like kale.
At Strawberry Farm Spigarello Broccoli comes in two types – flat leaf, and fun-looking thin and curly type, which I love. When I first tried it I cooked it as the farmer suggested – olive oil, garlic and anchovies. It was delicious. Then, few nights later I tried it in the Japanese way – simmered leaves served with one of the sauces in Hiroko’s American Kitchen – Spicy miso sauce and peanut butter sauce. No oil, no garlic and no anchovies; so I enjoyed the natural flavor of this delicious greens.
Here are some tips of boiling Spigarello Broccoli (You can apply these tips when you cook kale, turnip leaves,…); attached photos will help you to clarify my poor English descriptions below.
1. Bundle up leafy part of the greens together and tie the very end of leafy area with a rubber band. In this way the greens stay together when you will be cooking it. Cut the tough end stem part below the rubber band.
2. Cook the greens in salt added boiling water. Use 1 percent of salt by volume of the water. When you cook the greens in boiling water, first submerge the tougher end part of the greens into the water. After a minute or so, push all part of the leaves into the water and cook. In this way, the leaves and tougher stem parts are cooked evenly tender.
3. After cooking the greens, drain and cool them in a bowl of cold ice water. Drain the greens again, and squeeze the leaves to remove excess water. Transfer the greens to a cutting board and now remove the rubber band.
4. Sprinkle a little shoyu over the greens and massage them with the shoyu. Then, gently squeeze the greens to remove excess shoyu. This process lightly flavors the greens before being sauced. The greens are ready to be cut into bite sized length.